Monday, May 12, 2014

Guest Review: Live from the CHIKarpet

Ants DO don the formal wear from time to time
Photo Credit: Ryan Simmons
Babs Myers-Peterson is a Chikara superfan and an accomplished indie wrestling writer, and she currently hosts the Chikara in 15 Minutes podcast. She was at the red carpet for the premiere of the Ashes of Chikara movie, and she had a guest report to file for TWB:

Red carpets, paparazzi, and plenty of well-dressed celebrities are typically only found in the shadow of the “Hollywood” sign, but on May 5, Chikara brought the glamour of Hollywood to Collegeville, PA for the red carpet premiere of The Ashes of Chikara at the posh Movie Tavern. The premiere was an once-in-a-lifetime affair, featuring the first and only big screen showing of the movie. Red carpet entrances set the tone for evening and the question and answer session afterwards closed the event in an enlightening way.

Quack came out of reclusion for the premiere
Photo Credit: Ryan Simmons
The Ashes of Chikara grabs you and takes you on a journey, starting from the opening credits. It is truly professional wrestling’s most ambitious story, and not just because it uses a previously untapped medium to tell the tale of what happened to Chikara’s finest after the events of Aniversario: Never Compromise and the closing of the company in June 2013, but because of the story itself. As the family was split apart, an unlikely hero rose to reunite them and rekindle the spirit of Chikara in the form of the Winged Ring Warrior, Icarus. However, Icarus wasn’t the only one seeking something lost. Connected by that theme, other stories are interwoven into the narrative of Ashes For example, in their search for the missing-in-action Soldier Ant, Green Ant and Fire Ant bond with assailANT, unifying and strengthening The Colony. 3.0, Scott Parker and Shane Matthews, go on a road trip to hunt down the elusive Archibald Peck, eventually finding him and changing the course of history in the nick of time.

Before the screening, the stars arrived in classy black town cars to walk to the carpet in style, as excited fans and eager photographers crowded around, hoping to get a glimpse or picture of them. Everyone was dressed elegantly, looking suave and sophisticated in their suits and ties. Appearances were made by the movies creators, like the Producer and Director of Photography, and cast members, including Icarus, The Colony, UltraMantis Black, Kobald, and Mike Quackenbush.

Kobald sporting some of Bled Island's finest
Photo Credit: Ryan Simmons
Once the stars stepped on the red carpet, they were interviewed live about the film before the crowd of fans that attended the premiere and those at home watching via the CHIKArmed Forces Network. Questions included the stars’ thoughts on being involved in such a unique project as The Ashes of Chikara, what scenes they were most looking forward to seeing, and which is harder: acting or wrestling? (The general consensus being that wrestling is harder.) Each individual had their own unique insights to share. A replay of all the interviews can be seen online for free here. After being interviewed, the stars continued down the carpet to be photographed by the paparazzi and fans before entering the theater and finding their seats.

Following the screening, a group of the people responsible for ushering the film into reality answered questions about the challenges of making a movie under unusual circumstances. Reportedly created on a budget of “a ham sandwich,” and sometimes filmed right under the noses of fans at live wrestling events, The Ashes of Chikara embodies many DIY aspects of guerrilla and independent film-making.

The red carpet premiere of “The Ashes of CHIKARA” successfully brought a bit of Hollywood to Collegeville, PA, but you can now watch the film anywhere, from your couch to your commute. It was released worldwide on Friday, May 9. It is available to download here. For additional information on Ashes please visit here, and for more on Chikara, please visit their site.