This past weekend I had the chance to watch a screener of the upcoming American Weightlifting: A Documentary. This film was a passion project by Greg Everett of Catalyst Athletics, one of the premiere weightlifting facilities in the United States.
The film itself runs about two hours, and takes a detailed look at the state of Olympic Weightlifting in this country and the inherent struggles the United States faces to becoming successful on a worldwide stage. We get to hear from experienced coaches, see a ton of footage of both modern facilities and ‘original’ gyms, and marvel at the dedication of the athletes. The film feels episodic – like a survey course of Olympic Weightlifting rather than having a specific theme. Perhaps my favorite parts were learning more about the history of weightlifting (see: Father Lange of Notre Dame) and watching one of the young US phenoms, D’Angelo Osorio, go through a weightlifting competition. I would love to see a full documentary just following one of these athletes some day!
I was lucky to have the chance to ask Greg about the state of Olympic Weightlifting in the US and what the future holds in store. Here’s what he had to say:
Matt: What motivated you to film this documentary, and what do you hope the film will accomplish for the weightlifting community?
Greg: “I thought it was something that needed to be done for the sake of helping the sport grow and recognizing the people who keep it alive, and I was fairly confident that no one else would be jumping on the task any time soon. Really I have no business making a movie, having no experience, no training, and no money, but the reality of the sport is that those are exactly the kind of circumstances we’re operating in much of the time. I think that despite it not being the greatest achievement of filmmaking, the way in which it was made is important part of the message it conveys, namely that we need to put in the work and find ways to get things done no matter what kind of disadvantages we’re facing.” Continue reading