We’ve asked the filmmakers for the 11th annual Oxford Film Festival the same five questions. Meet Ryan Scafuro, producer, co-writer and cinematographer of Bending Steel. This film will be screening Saturday, Feb. 8 at 6:15 p.m. and Sunday, Feb. 9 at 2 p.m.
#1: In 140 characters or less, describe your movie and why someone should see it.
Bending Steel is a moving documentary which follows Chris Schoeck, an endearing yet unassuming man as he trains to become a professional oldetime strongman. While preparing to perform incredible feats of strength publicly, Chris privately struggles to overcome crippling fears and inhibitions. For the first time in his life he is compelled to confront his own social awkwardness, unsupportive parents, and an overwhelming fear of failure. What unfolds is one man’s inspirational quest to find his place in the world.
THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER calls it a “winning doc”, THE WALL STREET JOURNAL says it’s “surprisingly emotional”, and INDIEWIRE claims “you’re not likely to see a more inspiring documentary this year.” It’s a unique film about a relatively unknown subject with a very endearing character, and we hope you leave the theater moved and inspired.
#2: Biggest lesson learned in getting the film made? Best part in getting the film made?
Don’t give up. We hit so many obstacles while making BENDING STEEL, but we were fortunate enough to be following a very determined person as our subject, and his tenacity continuously inspired us. Even through the most difficult times we pushed forward, and the payoff has been enormous. Not only have we accomplished a lifelong goal, but the personal responses that we receive from audience members have truly been the best part. To hear how the film has positively affected others is heartwarming.
#3: Tell us about you. What is your movie making background?
I took a communications class in high school (I remember the switcher board had star wipes and a cross fade that involved a woman doing a cartwheel), and I was hooked. I focused on documentary photography in college, but then turned to video journalism in my early career working at a news station in Boston. I was given a lot of opportunities there, and was soon shooting all of their long form documentary content. It has been quite a few years since I started, but this is my first feature length film.
#4 What do you want the Oxford Film Festival audience to know about your film that isn’t obvious from its title or description?
The title of the film is BENDING STEEL, but at it’s core it is not at all about bending steel. It is about overcoming limitations, insecurities, whatever it may be that holds you back in life. It is about the ongoing quest for fulfillment. It is about finding your place in the world. It is a story that we can all relate to. And without giving too much away, I think by the end you will leave feeling inspired and maybe even with a few tears in your eye.
#5: What does the future hold in store for your film and for you?
At the moment we are still looking for the right distributor to help BENDING STEEL get seen by the largest audience possible. Personally, I am finishing a short documentary and have a number of other features in development. I am feel very fortunate for the opportunity I have been given by the success of my first feature, and look forward to bringing more stories to audiences around the world.