June 25, 2024 #1 Local News, Information and Event Source for the Century City/Westwood areas.

Documentaries That Warm the Heart and Touch the Soul

The 25th Independent Spirit Awards held in Los Angeles on March 5th awarded the “Best Documentary†title to Anvil! The Story of Anvil, which features the very unique and unusual story of a band and their struggle to rock on in the world of rock and roll despite all odds. The tearjerker rockumentary, directed and executive produced by Sacha Gervasi whose latest screenplay, Henry’s Crime is now in post-production, starring Keanu Reeves, earned 16 wins and 4 nominations since it was first released in February, 2009. Two young musicians, Robb Reiner and Steve “Lips†Kudlow make a pact at the age of 14 to rock together forever and although the Canadian metal band influenced the music of such heavy hitters as Metallica, Slayer and Anthrax, Anvil itself never made it big, or even small, on screen or off.

Gervasi tells the story of endless struggle and dramatic events evoked by a never dying dream to becoming rock stars in a fun and entertaining way, saying everything as is, while keeping the harsh realities in the center with a dim chance of winning along the way. The film is inspiring and encouraging. Never say never because it is never too late!

The 25th Spirit Awards brought out stars like Judy Foster, Jeff Bridges, Woody Harrelson, Andy Garcia, and chairman Ben Stiller, who all walked casually through the Official Presenter’s Gift Lounge of the evening sponsored by companies such as LG Electronics, FAGE and Nautica.

Another heartfelt documentary by film-maker Steven C Barber and narrated by Oscar nominated, Emmy winning Blues Brother Dan Aykroyd, is suspected to collect many more awards after winning its first, the Remi Award from the 43rd Annual World Fest-Houston International Film Festival. Unbeaten features paraplegics who overcome the disabilities caused by their permanent paralysis, and accomplish more in the course of a six-day wheelchair race than most of us do in a lifetime. They cross 267 miles of rough terrain, one-third of which is uphill, in the Denali Mountain Pass between Fairbanks and Anchorage, Alaska, participating in the longest wheelchair race in the world: The Alaskan Challenge. John Paul DeJoria, the business tycoon behind the very successful Paul Mitchell hair-care line was the title sponsor of the race and personally met most of the racers, congratulating them on their tremendous strength to overcome the most difficult of human conditions. John Paul himself had to beat hardcore beginnings, coming from poverty to become worth 4 billion dollars today.

“Success has an uncanny way of slipping in through the back door disguised as failure,†says director, Steven C Barber. The film demonstrates the most important message of our times: the strength of the human spirit. The athletes in this movie do not only “count on†the strength of their body, but they master the strength of their spirit showing us the impossible. The unbelievable, unbeatable human spirit is what Unbeaten is all about. In the midst of the most heart-breaking conditions these men set out to complete a task that most of us would not dare imagining, for just thinking it would cause pain.

While the film first started with a few footage shots in Alaska, and no bigger plans to go with it, the enthusiasm and determination triggered by the core subject took Barber all the way to integrating stories of the 2008 Beijing Paralympics into the film, which now is also scheduled to be screened in the White House.

With great acclaim at Sundance, Unbeaten is up for an Oscar consideration next year. To make all this possible, Barber attracted the support of such mega millionaires as Steve Forbes, Eli Broad, Pamela Anderson and Cher, along with The Polaris Media Group that financed the marketing and distribution of the film and brought producing partner, Greg Strom, and Tamara Henry on board.

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