STRONGHOLD Wrestling Documentary Makes Hollywood Premiere

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Few wrestling documentaries get to specifics when it comes to why wrestling is one of the most underappreciated, underrepresented, unwritten about sports in America. STRONGHOLD: In the Grip of Wrestling changed that Saturday night at its Hollywood premiere at the All Sports Los Angeles Film Festival.

Few wrestling documentaries get to specifics when it comes to why wrestling is one of the most underappreciated, underrepresented, unwritten about sports in America. STRONGHOLD: In the Grip of Wrestling changed that Saturday night at its Hollywood premiere at the All Sports Los Angeles Film Festival.

Discussions ranged from the growing touchphobia and homophobia among men in American culture, the effects of Title IX, and more explicitly, the fear many young men have of getting an erection while wrestling. Adult men from all over the country share the pressures they face to continue their passion for wrestling well beyond college age, something that seems to be frowned upon and even joked about in America, but is commonplace in countries like Turkey and Iran.

The documentary pulls no punches when talking about sensitive subjects. Several men discuss how they have been sexually attracted to wrestling since they were kids, and how the age-old fear of getting an erection in a singlet prevented them from wrestling in school. They share stories about sneaking peeks at library wrestling books and wrestling magazines, watching it on TV and being mesmerized by the guys in tight trunks, or getting aroused while wrestling their friends. Many grew up with shame for these feelings, and now think that they have to hide their wrestling as adults. Through the Internet and nationwide wrestling events, thousands of adult men are discovering they are not alone.

But the documentary covers much more: How wrestling was once one of the most popular sports for adult men in the U.S., the effects of Title IX on collegiate wrestling, and how WWE altered pro wrestling (Vince McMahon meets an untimely death in the film). The growing sport of Jiu-Jitsu is also examined as a much-needed outlet for grown men to grapple. Award-winning filmmaker, Victor Rook, wanted to make sure that the documentary was all-inclusive, so wrestlers both gay and straight-identified, single and married, were interviewed.

The documentary takes you back stage at a pro indy show, inside amateur wrestling tournaments, a jiu-jitsu school, and several wrestling events specifically geared for adult men. The filmmaker even pulls people out of bars and truck stops to wrestle in a portion of the film noted as 'The Great Wrestling Road Trip.' "I came out of this film with a unique understanding of how similar most men are, regardless of sexuality. There is a need for close physical contact among men as adults, and wrestling provides that," says Mr. Rook.

One reviewer described the documentary as "a story nobody, gay or straight, has previously had the nerve to tell--and this movie is all the more remarkable because it gets every bit of it absolutely right."

For additional information and to order Stronghold: In the Grip of Wrestling on DVD or online Pay-Per-View, visit the film's official website at http://www.wrestlingfilm.com

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Victor Rook
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