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Fake It So Real (Robert Greene | New York, NY | 94 min.)
Fake It So Real dives head-first into the world of independent pro wrestling. Filmed over a single week leading up to a big show, the film follows a ragtag group of wrestlers in North Carolina, exploring what happens when the over-the-top theatrics of the wrestling ring collide with the realities of the working-class South. The show will include a live wrestling match featuring the film’s subjects after the screening, a stunning blood and sweat example of Rooftop’s commitment to bringing the films we present to life.
Gabriel is the rookie trying to make it to the Big Time and be a part of this family of tough guys. Jeff is the leader who may miss his first show in ten years, due to an unexpected and debilitating injury. J-Prep, Zane, Pitt, Solar and the rest of the crew each face obstacles on their way to the big show. They aren’t paid for their passion, but they treat wrestling like any artist treats his work.
Much like Rooftop Films, the Millennium Wrestling Federation (MWF) is above all a community. The town of Lincolnton appreciates their presence, taking pride in it much like they might with a minor league baseball team, but it’s a constant struggle to keep the matches going. Mainstream televised wrestling makes it hard for the independents to survive, and the eternal perception that what they do is “fake” keeps interest down. But as one wrestler says, “Nothing fake has real medical bills.” Watching this film, you get a behind-the-scenes look at modern day, independent, craftsman-performers, hustling much the way indie artists and entrepreneurs do everywhere—only here with lycra tights, makeup, and a “reverse backhold slam into a gator roll from the shoulder.”
From putting up posters in local parking lots to making supportive visits to the other wrestlers and referee’s homes, their work is a labor of love and a family affair. And even though the guys make fun of each other mercilessly (and sometimes offensively), you can’t help be touched by the sensitivity they genuinely show each other—checking the grades of a student referee, commiserating over health issues, and even offering to donate obscure body parts for cosmetic reasons. These are a smart and charming bunch of entertainers, inside and out of the ring.
If you’re a wrestling enthusiast, you’ll be thrilled to see the grapplers intricate and grueling preparations. If you’re not, you’re in for even more of a treat, as the fervor and fun is sure to prove infectious. With dynamic wrestling sequences and charming characters, Fake It So Real is utterly engaging. And the touching and dramatic storylines touch on larger societal issues that affect us all. This is a film about committing to something you love. A film about scuffling, tussling, and fighting for what you believe in. This is a film about doing something real.
- Mark Elijah Rosenberg