Bending Steel (producer Ryan Scafuro in person!)

Even for folks who aren’t dedicated to sports, the sports film can hold an immeasurable amount of excitement, drama and deep emotion, as its subjects put themselves to the ultimate physical/mental tests — and Bending Steel is one of 2013’s most intimate, satisfying films of its kind, as it follows Chris Schoeck, an introverted loner from Queens who dreams of becoming a modern-day strongman. Faced with unsupportive parents and nonexistent friends, Chris finds acceptance and kinship among the strongmen of Coney Island, whose art is a living window into an earlier, turn-of-the-century era. As he prepares for his first public show, Chris struggles to overcome physical limitations, crippling social anxiety — and an unyielding two-inch bar of steel becomes a symbol of everything that’s held him back in life. This is a deeply empathetic, awe-inspiring film, one rich with subtle details that linger long in the memory, like the unforgettable sound of steel actually bending in Chris’s hands as he trains in his apartment building’s dingy basement. Both a touching portrait, and a peek into a fascinating subculture. Producer Ryan Scafuro in person for a Q&A after the film!
Dir. Dave Carroll, 2013, digital presentation, 92 min.

Watch the trailer for “Bending Steel”!
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