Photo: Lucha Libre on PBS
Tales of Masked Men, a new documentary about the colorful, fascinating and mysterious world of Lucha Libre, premieres on Public Broadcasting PBS. Filmed in Mexico and the United States and loaded with all the passion and emotion that defines this theme, the documentary explores the history of wrestling and the factors that have caused this phenomenon lasts for eighty years. Directed by Carlos Avila, Tales of Masked Men will premiere on Friday VOICES September 28, 2012, from 10:00 to 11:00 pm ET on PBS ( check your local listings ) during Hispanic Heritage Month.
Described by the cultural anthropologist Heather Levi as “a key sport melodrama”, wrestling has the same origin as the U.S. professional wrestling (ie competitive Olympic-style wrestling and Greco-Roman), but has adopted the characteristics unique in Mexico and the former country’s fascination with masks. The masks hide their faces, but not the feelings, which allows fighters to become a tough character, the villain who breaks the rules, or a technician, fair and honest hero who master the techniques. This sport “working class” is practiced in small and large arenas throughout Mexico and the United States and in other countries and it is a truly interactive activity, where fans of all ages are involved in a passionate the drama unfolding in the ring.
Tales of Masked Men features three fighters, each of which embodies different aspects of the sport and its traditions. The masked Mexican wrestler most famous and revered of all time is The Saint, a trainee fighter who struggled to find a place in the world of wrestling. The Holy rose to fame in the ring and eventually became an international star of film and television personality whose image and penetrated deep into the Mexican public. At first it was tough, but the Holy ultimately became an icon representing the triumph of good over evil, a national hero in Mexico whose presence is felt even today.
With a height of only 1.32 meters, Mascarita Sagrada is one of the most dynamic and acrobatic fighters participating today in wrestling. The film examines the evolution of this little person from overprotected childhood until he became a masked wrestler. We will hear the stories of how other mini-wrestlers Mascarita helped to develop in the big fight is today.
Finally, know the classic fighter Solar. Solar has been fighting for four decades and continues to fight around the world, traveling frequently to Japan, England, the United States and several European countries. Solar overcame a childhood of poverty in the countryside to find an identity and a livelihood in wrestling. Sensing that the end of his career is near, Solar trains and prepares your child, Solar Jr., to climb into the ring. Eventually, you can move the character mask Solar and his son, in a tradition of wrestling that guarantees immortality of the character.
Featuring interviews with cultural commentators, who know the sport and fighters, as well as archival footage and fragments of adventure films of “masked wrestlers,” Tales of Masked Men tells the vibrant story of how wrestling has been ingrained in the culture Mexican and Latin and has become an integral component of their identity.
About the filmmakers
CARLOS AVILA (director and producer) is an award winning film and television director. He grew up in Echo Park neighborhood in Los Angeles and has Mexican and Peruvian descent. Carlos received his training in film at Loyola Marymount University and the School of Theater, Film and Television at UCLA. Carlos held his directorial debut in cinema with the premiere of New Line Cinema 2000 Price of Glory, starring Jimmy Smits, Clifton Collins, Jr. and Ron Perlman. This family drama set in the world of professional and amateur boxing was held at the Director and Writer of the Sundance Institute Labs. Carlos also was executive producer of innovative soundtrack of the film, which helped launch the rock and hip-hop Latino wider public. In 2001 was awarded the ALMA (American Latino Media Arts) for Best Director for his work on this film. Carlos is the creator of Foto-Novelas, a PBS television series Humanitas Prize nominee composed half-hour dramas in the style of The Twilight Zone. Foto-Novelas was recently added to the permanent collection of the Museum of Television and Radio in New York. Its award-winning short films, Distant Water and carp have been screened at many film festivals in the United States and around the world. Carlos directed the pilot episode of the detective series Sony Television and Telemundo Kings and King and directed the episode “Street Money” of the CBS series Cold Case. Tales of Masked Men is the first feature documentary Carlos. He is a member of the Directors Guild of America.
THOM CALDERON (co-producer and editor) has worked on dozens of films over twenty years. Thom has been involved in post-production stages of many Hollywood film projects, from comedies to action films and dramas. In addition to his long association with Carlos Avila, has worked with directors like John Singleton, Michael Apted, Taylor Hackford, Gregory Nava and Billy Crystal. As first assistant editor, Thom worked on Hollywood blockbusters with big budgets, like Captain America, First Avenger, Dragonball: Evolution, Enough and My Family. More recently, Thom Hispanic co-edited the Argentina of Fox International Everyone has a plan, starring Viggo Mortensen.