Wrestling documentary to debut today


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Upon graduating from the University of Iowa, James Drescher and Chad Adams knew they wanted to tell stories. While they originally wanted to create wedding videos, plans changed when they were provided the opportunity to capture an insider’s view of the Iowa wrestling program.

The Iowa Way, a documentary following Iowa wrestling, will make its public d├ębut this evening at the Englert Theater, 221 E. Washington St., where members of the Hawkeye Wrestling Club, Dan Gable, and Iowa wrestling fans will fill the seats.

Drescher and Adams shot video at three wrestling matches and compiled their work into a short 10-minute video they pitched to wrestling program in summer 2012, shortly thereafter receiving a stamp of approval from officials.

“Win or lose, it doesn’t matter; it’s all about telling the story,” Adams said.

Drescher and Adams spent a large amount of time with the wrestling team last season and in the process were able to learn about the team as a whole.

“Watching these kids work as hard as they do is inspiring,” Drescher said. “We wanted to capture the intensity of the sport, how hard these guys work, and to really show Iowa wrestling.”

The Iowa Way is a four-part, 40-minute documentary that provides viewers a deeper look into the legacy of the Iowa wrestling program. Commentary from some of the most well-known figures in the program include Dan Gable, Tom and Terry Brands, as well as former and current wrestlers.

After practice earlier this week, the Feller Club Room in Carver filled with current wrestlers and coaches to watch a private screening of the documentary.

“Our main goal in doing this was to make sure that they gave their approval and that it reflected the high level of wrestling that the UI program is made for,” Drescher said.

Adams said this goal was met, and the film received positive reviews from the members of the program.

“Coaches are very appreciative of what we’ve done for the program,” Adams said.

Drescher and Adams also spoke with the families of wrestlers Tony Ramos, Derek St. John, and Matt McDonough to see what they thought of the solo reels about their sons and said they received a great reaction.

Drescher learned the Iowa Way of wrestling was much more than he had previously thought.

“Before we jumped in, I thought the Iowa Way was going hard and being the best that you can be, getting scrappy,” Drescher said. “But afterwards, [I learned] the Iowa Way is 10 percent wrestling and 90 percent how to become a good person, husband, and father. These kids grow so much as men, and they take these skills into real life.”

Drescher, in agreeing with Adams, said that in addition to showcasing Iowa wrestling, they also were able to unveil a new style of filmmaking.

“We want to show everyone that this is a style [of documentary] that isn’t really out there and we want to be the forerunners,” Drescher said.

Because of NCAA regulations, The Iowa Way will not be released on DVD, but Drescher and Adams will have more in store for wrestling die-hards as they will continue their work with the team. They will work on a more intense project in 2014.

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