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.
There are several things. Our interviews are varied and extensive. We have interviewed subjects who haven't been spoken with before. You'll be exposed to people you never knew before, or didn't think you would like, and I think their answers to our questions might surprise you. Having said that, this film is NOT about an individual, or perceived "star power," but an entire ensemble that tells the company's story based on a mix of fact and opinion. This film focuses on interpersonal relationships, the pitfalls and triumphs of business (as humorous as it is dramatic), and cultural impact inside and outside of the wrestling industry. Our film is NOT about wrestlers remembering their favorite angles. Those are stories/clips for extras.
I think it's important to mention that this documentary does not focus on Storylines/Angles/Characters. Those things are touched on, but only to give context of what ECW was, and from there we go further into our examinations. Also, we've reached out to the wrestling media for context and diverse opinions. No other film brings together these men to help tell the story of a wrestling promotion, its mistakes and failures, as well as its brilliance and personality.
Many things we cover in-depth honestly aren't covered correctly, or at all, in any other documentaries. This is a critical, unbiased, objective look at ECW made by people who are not in the wrestling business, which is something no other ECW-related documentary can say. We have no agenda and are in search for the truth. Period.
We'll be posting up some raw segment content to show how we are handling things differently. We hope that you'll like it, and hopefully support us with a donation.
Kickstarter's policy is ALL OR NOTHING. This means that we must reach our goal of $23,200 on September 19th or unforunately the project will not get funded. Meaning no matter what you "pledged" to "back" will not be charged. WAIT --DID YOU JUST READ THAT CORRECTLY? Okay, so when you first saw this page and said to yourself, "wow this is a great project, I have to back this"; you made a pledge through Kickstarter via http://amazon.com/. Basically in a nutshell when you pledge or back a project on Kickstarter, you are just giving Kickstarter/Amazon permission to charge your account/credit card ONLY IF THE PROJECT MEETS THE GOAL OF $23,200. Again if we don't reach that goal in 22 days -THEN NO ONE IS CHARGED ANYTHING, and sadly we hit a major roadblock with no funding. In fact, did you know anyone who has pledged or backed this project so far has not been charged yet, and again WON'T until the deadline expires, and only if we meet the goal.
We appreciate everyone's pledges. Thank you so much. If you are able to share the link/project with your friends by email, or Facebook, Twitter, or anywhere else, we would so greatly appreciate your help. It means the world to us. Thanks again for your support.
Can anyone try and block this project due to the copyrights on the footage? How is this being handled?
We have filmed all the interviews ourselves and have the proper paperwork on them. Anything else that we include will be licensed properly through a third party with all the paperwork in order.
Shipping outside the US usually costs $5-$10 depending on what country it is going to. If you live outside the United States we would ask you kindly to include an extra $5 in your pledge amount and we will make sure you get everything you are entitled to when the project reaches its goals.
Our original budget was $33,200 ($10,000 more than we ended up asking for). I had a heart attack when our project manager showed it to me. I said, "we'll never make it." and he told me that I had to make cuts then. That was incredibly hard. So this is our chance to maybe get a bit of those lost things back.
I would love to expand our soundtrack budget--really give us a chance to get some unique collaborators to work with Kevin Kiernan as he scores this, improve recording, improve the depth of the music. It's a lot of work for Kevin, so he could use the help.I know he has people and production ideas in mind.
I would love to improve our film festival budget. We had to slash it in half, and these festivals add up quickly. I'd like to show the world this film and hopefully have it recognized.
To that end I'd like to put some extra money toward marketing and advertising. Right now we have a small budget for that, and 320 backers. I'd like tens of thousands of people to be able to see this film, so we have to let them know about it.
Licensing is another one. We have to finish paying our licensees, as well as pursue the things we don't yet have. I'd really like to not have to stress about getting mainstream news footage, or other media.
I would love to use extra funds to help speed up and improve the sound editing process, picture quality, and other production odds and ends.
Our premiere was completely eliminated from the prior budget, as we figured we would cross that bridge when we got there. Now we have a chance to really try to put on a good showing, and extra funds would be the first step towards a memorable event.
I could go on about odds and ends of self-distribution and the costs, but you get the idea. There is a lot of room for improvements, not to mention taxes have to be paid, and Kickstarter/Amazon will want there piece of the pie.
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