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By Kristin Hertko
Say your prayers, take your vitamins, and mark your calendars for Sadermania, Flashpoint Academy Studios’ first film to premiere at the Chicago International Film Festival! Today, CIFF released its official selections, and we’re proud to announce that this remarkable true story of fanship turned friendship is on the list.
Conceived, directed, and produced by TFA staff members Adam Gacka and Paul Matian, the film chronicles the unlikely best-friendship between Hulk Hogan and lifelong “Hulkamaniac” Chris Sader, an ordinary Polish-American kid from Chicago who has, practically since birth, followed Hogan’s every move. Several TFA students, including Andrew Fink, Michael Murrie, Mitch Koepp, Thomas Tamesis, Luke Peterson, John Mokhtarei, Justin Teichen and Jacob Gigler, filled various roles in the film’s production.
Recently, I was among a small group of the crew’s friends, family members, and supporters who were treated to an advance screening of the film (held at the posh audio/visual wonderland, Sanctuary on Michigan). And as one of several audience members who did not grow up on a steady diet of professional wrestling, I wasn’t sure what to expect from the story of this stosomewhat awkward, somewhat round (Hulk charitably calls him “robust,”) WWE superfan and his spandex-clad idol.
But where wrestling itself has always turned me off with its scripted drama and simulated violence, Chris’s story is surprisingly—and refreshingly—real. After all, who among us hasn’t hoped that, if we could only meet that one person we’ve always looked up to, he or she would love nothing more than to be our best friend? Sadermania is a sweet, sincere portrait of a lucky kid who got to do just that, and I’m excited for it to delight CIFF audiences just like it delighted me.
SADERMANIA will screen during CIFF on Sat Oct 15, 6:15pm (EFSADER1 – $13/$10)
Learn more about Sadermania at Sadermania.com