by Craig Hermit
Everyone who has ever heard of Progress Wrestling or been to a Progress Event has their own unique story of they first seen the promotion, personally I first seen it via ordering DVD’s back in 2014 and went to my first Progress show, the inaugural Super Strong Style (it was my round) in 2015, been a fan ever since. Now I thought travelling 400+ down and 400+ miles back was far, nope, since the promotion first began 2011, they have fans that travel from across the world to see their shows (keep an eye out for team from Spain, who now live in UK, wither that is because they love Progress so much that I do not know). What I do know, is that Progress has become so much more than a wrestling promotion to fans, to many it’s become a family, and with every show that shines through, from the moment you hear the Star Wars Imperial March, or Drake’s “Started From The Bottom”, you know you are welcomed in…(as long as you “Dont be a Dick!”)
Now, step forward ‘THIS.IS.PROGRESS.’
“THIS.IS.PROGRESS. is a feature-length documentary that charts PROGRESS Wrestling’s ascension to the heady heights of the UK independent wrestling scene. The film dissects what makes them, their wrestlers and the fans stand out as some of the most exciting and unique in the world.” – ‘THIS.IS.PROGRESS.’
Thats pretty cool right? So what did this team do, after all there are a lot of documentaries out there that tend to grasp onto to a promotions success without tapping into the heart of what that promotion is or how much that promotion has done to help others or even more magnify exactly how much that promotion means to everyone involved. Read on…
“This project started life as a short film in May 2016, but I soon realised that their story ran deeper and decided to develop it into a feature-length film. I have launched a crowdfunding campaign via Kickstarter to raise the funds needed to complete the film and take it onto the film-festival circuit, a limited cinema release and a global release via video-on-demand platforms in 2018.
Perhaps the most important question when trying to understand PROGRESS is ‘who are PROGRESS?’ When we started filming in June 2016 the focus of our story was on the promoters, their wrestlers and their fans. All 3 elements work in symbiosis of one another, if you take one away, the other two couldn’t survive. We wanted to show how PROGRESS works, via three of the most important gears driving the machine forward.
Hence, the intention of this observational documentary was to follow PROGRESS owners Jim, Jon and Glen. As well as wrestler and former PROGRESS champion Mark Haskins, and passionate ‘Ultra’ fan Paul Lee. But what is of most importance to us is portraying the human aspect of these lives by documenting them during some of the biggest, most important moments of their lives and professional careers.
After spending time with the promoters, and Mark and Paul, we started to see a much larger story form. We found ourselves documenting the very human realities of being involved with a wrestling promotion.
It also enabled us to tap into some other interesting aspects of the PROGRESS story too, such as:
The proliferation and strength of women’s wrestling. The ProJo, PROGRESS’ training facility for up and coming wrestlers. The role of the internet in contemporary wrestling. And being able to build (and reach) an audience online without the need for a television deal.” – ‘THIS.IS.PROGRESS.’
Below is their Progress Short Documentary that was screened in December 2016,
At the time of writing, they already had £12,916 pledged of the £25,000 goal, 263 backers so far and under a month to go, there’s still a lot of work to do but ‘THIS.IS.PROGRESS’ team are already finding out ways to reward fans who join their cause, with Pledges from as little as £1 to £3000, and the rewards can get you at Media Shout out to T-shirts, even your own Ring Entrance and much, much more.
If you’re a fan of Progress, Wrestling, or excellent documentaries from the view of behind the wrestling ring, have a look at the links below, read their story and contact them if you have any questions, want to help or find out how it is progressing.
Kickstarter – http://bit.ly/ProgressDocu
Facebook – www.facebook.com/progressdocu
Twitter – www.twitter.com/progressdocu
Instagram – www.instagram.com/this.is.progress
Website – www.progressdocu.com
Photos: Provided by This.Is.Progress.