About this project
***NOTE: Always check the tabs on top of this page for all updates, as we will be posting EXCLUSIVE bonus material for all who make a donation to this project***
NEW!!! EXTENDED SAMPLE TRAILER TEST UNAUTHORIZED ECW DOCUMENTARY.
***We struggled over what video to put out in these final days of our Kickstarter campaign..After much debate we decided to give you something lengthy again. This extended sample trailer was produced quickly over a 2 day period two months ago as a demonstration of skills. While I wouldn't say it tells more than 1/16th of our story, and I don't think its a clear indicator of the scope of our tone as far as the reunion goes, it does give a window into our "Unauthorized ECW Documentary" currently in production. Please keep in mind this is a low resolution due to the compression here on Youtube. Enjoy. - John PhilapavagePRODUCERS UNVEIL EXCLUSIVE EXTENDED VIDEO FROM UNAUTHORIZED ECW DOCUMENTARY FOR IMMEDIATE VIEWING
Who We Are: Filmmakers Kevin Kiernan and John Philapavage have been friends since they were two years old. Both attended the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, PA. They’ve made several short and long form films together, including two mockumentaries, with several being shown at east coast film festivals.
What Is The Project: We like to call this the study of a subculture’s subculture. Pro Wrestling is a world that is an odd island to most people. In the 1990s, Extreme Championship Wrestling was the bizarre underground of that subculture. We wanted to bring the fascinating behind-the-scenes story of this promotion to the mainstream, its ups and its downs, from its beginning in the early 90s all the way into 2012. We’ve shot 50 hours of footage and conducted over 60 interviews to give context and accuracy to this oral history. This has been a labor of love, as the project began when both filmmakers were 19, in March of 2000.
Philapavage was a wrestling fan growing up, he was particularly captivated by Extreme Championship Wrestling as a teen. Kiernan, never a fan, brought a fresh perspective to the project. Much of the film was shot in 2001, before the film was put on hold the first time in 2002. Several times production of the film was resumed, but it was never completed, due to lack of funding. In January of this year the project was resurrected again with new eyes. 15 additional hours were shot, including three days at Extreme Reunion, a wrestling show in Philadelphia, where ECW alumni came together to reunite in front of roughly 2000 fans.
This film aims to take an honest, critical look at the history, legacy, and impact of ECW on the professional wrestling industry, as well as tell the stories of the men and women who helped build this small mom and pop promotion into a national force. We examine the violence and bloodshed, marketing and fan involvement, as well as the decisions of those in charge, through the company’s triumphs, glory years, controversies, and demise.
Who Is In Our Film: We conducted over 60 different interviews, some with the same subjects twice, over a decade apart. Our approach to telling the story of Extreme Championship Wrestling and giving you proper context has been holistic in nature. We’ve interviewed journalists, wrestlers, referees, ring announcers, security staff, company staff and production, all the way to fans and fan organizers.
We spoke with personalities like Joel Gertner, Sign Guy Dudley (Lou E.), and referee John Finagan. We interviewed the founder of Extreme Championship Wrestling, Tod Gordon, as well as early staff like Larry Winters, Bob Artese, Ed Zohn, Kathy Fitzpatrick, and longtime office workers like Gabe Sapolsky and Damien Farren, as well as later Extreme Championship Wrestling staffers like Dan Kowal. We also sat down with TV production man, Charlie Bruzzese. We sought out involved fans, like ECW Arena front row fan, Tom Misnik (the man who ran the company’s fan conventions), John “Straw Hat Guy” Baily, and supporter/fan organizer, Tony Lewis. We have the head of Atlas Security, Ronnie Lang, as well as one of his trusted lieutenants, Joe Wilchak.
Finally, we have a wide array of context and analysis, as well as diverse opinions, from the journalists who covered Extreme Championship Wresting. Dave Meltzer from the Wrestling Observer, Wade Keller and Bruce Mitchell from the Pro Wrestling Torch, Jason Powell of Prowrestling.Net, as well as wrestling photographer and historian, Bill Apter. Rounding out this list are Mike Johnson and Dave Scherer of PWInsider.com, who have the unique distinction of being early fans who became journalists, and also worked for the companies official website. We also spoke with Michael “Mad Dog” Tearson (a local Philadelphia journalist), Rob Feinstein of RF Video (ECW’s video tape partner), and Frank Talent of the Pennsylvania State Athletic Commission.
Why We Need Money: To make a finished documentary we will need funding to cover the cost of, but not limited to: Editing the 50 hours of footage. There are travel costs and hundreds of little incidentals along the way (equipment, tapes, software, photo animation, artwork and other post-production expenses. We’ll need money to license media of all forms, as well as pay for all ORIGINAL music. We’ll also need to pay for producing/shipping the DVDs and fulfilling all the other great rewards we offer. There are fees taken out by kickstarter/amazon, as well as business expenses/legal, paying taxes, and so on. You get the idea. It’s a big project, we love it, but we need your help.
Why It Is Important We Make This Film: This film seeks to shed light on a group of people that came together with the goal of turning their industry on its head. The sacrifices they made trying to achieve it were often physically brutal, as they were chasing the dream of trying to create something innovative in professional wrestling. They succeeded by playing an often unheralded role in the creation of the cultural phenomenon that was the wrestling boom of the late 90’s, but failed to fully realize their dream of getting to the top of that swell of popular acceptance that they helped create. We want to tell their story.
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