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     PULLING JOHN
U.S.A., 2009, 72 mins, Color (Language)

MIDWEST PREMIERE

+FILMMAKERS ARE SCHEDULED TO BE IN ATTENDANCE

Director: Vassiliki Khonsari, Sevan Matossian
Producer: Navid Khonsari
Editing: Vassiliki Khonsari
Music: Gary Meister
Cinematography: Vassiliki Khonsari, Sevan Matossian
Executive Producer: Homayoun Khonsari
Cast: John Brzenk, Alexey Voevoda, Travis Bagent

www.pullingjohn.com


OFFICIAL SELECTION
2009 SXSW FILM FESTIVAL


John Brzenk isn't a household name unless you follow the sport of arm wrestling -- but if you do, Brzenk is to his sport what Michael Jordan is to basketball or Muhammad Ali is to boxing. Born in 1964, Brzenk began competing seriously at age 16, and two years later he won his first world championship. Since then, Brzenk has been the man to beat in any serious international competition, and he has held the world arm wrestling championship for close to a quarter of a century. But at the age of 40, Brzenk finds himself facing the same questions that vex any great athlete -- should he retire while he's still at the top, or wait for time, age and stronger, younger competitors to strip him of his title? Filmmakers Vassiliki Khonsari and Sevan Matossian spent four years following Brzenk as he traveled the world competing in arm wresting tournaments, and Pulling John is a documentary that follows the athlete during a pivotal moment in his career. Pulling John also profiles two men regarded as likely candidates to take Brzenk's place as arm wrestling's king of the mountain -- Alexey Voevoda, a Russian from a long line of military heroes who wants to bring the championship home to his country, and Travis Bagent, a spirited young American who has followed Brzenk's career since he was a child and sees himself as the heir to his throne.
    --Mark Deming, All Movie Guide
Vassiliki Khonsari & Sevan Matossian
Vassiliki Khonsari has been making documentaries for over 10 years. After completing her studies with an MA in visual anthropology in the UK, Vassiliki returned back home where she worked between NY and California. Her documentaries include Harpoons and Heartache which opened at the Sheffield Documentary Festival, Bang the Machine premiered at SXSW, and Our House which won best documentary at over 20 film festivals including Nashville, Cinequest, Woodstock, Vancouver, etc. and opened to a small theatrical release. She recently completed Pindemonium. Vassiliki works with her husband at their production company iNK Stories where they are developing several narrative feature scripts.

Sevan Matossian studied at the Film Studies Department of the University of California, Santa Barbara. During that time, Sevan created, directed and edited the most popular access show in Barbara history-IVTV. His footage went on to circle the globe via CNN, CNNInternational, FOX, ABC, CBS and NBC. Sevan went on to direct, produce, shoot and edit the award-winning feature length documentary Our House which screened at more than 30 film festivals around the world. Sevan has filmed in over 45 countries in some of the poorest and most isolated corners of the globe.
PRECEDED BY SHORT FILM

          HOT DOG
U.S.A., 2008, 6 mins, Animated (Family Friendly)

Director: Bill Plympton


A gorgeous colored-pencil animated short by two-time Academy Award Nominee Bill Plympton. A plucky dog attempts to join a fire company to save the day and gain the affection he so richly deserves.

 
Showings
06/12/09 07:00 PMVenue 3 (HS)
Saugatuck High School Auditorium
401 Elizabeth Street
 
06/14/09 02:00 PMVenue 3 (HS)
Saugatuck High School Auditorium
401 Elizabeth Street
 


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