S Y N O P S I S
Leap Off the Top Rope Into the World of Mexican Wrestling
Shot in Mexico City, Tijuana and Los Angeles, Viva Lucha Libre reveals to the viewer that this once considered low brow sport of lucha libre proves to be much richer in history, iconography, and pop culture significance than expected. From the provident origins of the mask to the outrageous antics of the luchadores, Viva Lucha Libre captures the appeal of lucha libre in a visceral way. Instead of stealing its mysterious power through unmasking, Viva Lucha Libre defies the sport's own mythology, revealing much about its mysterious identity while increasing its allure. What started out as an American carnival sideshow attraction in the last century has grown today into a multi- million dollar, worldwide entertainment spectacle. Professional wrestling comes in all shapes, sizes, colors and most importantly, cultures. Mexico’s fascination with pro wrestling has grown from a curious infatuation to a nationalistic obsession in the span of over eighty years. Mexican lucha libre is physical embodiment of all the great storytelling elements: dramatic, theatrical, acrobatic, enigmatic, and most of all – exciting. Using the fundamentals of dramatic structure lucha libre utilizes the oldest principles in the book, good guy vs. bad guy. Inside the ring, the colorful pageantry and athleticism of the performers becomes a surreal and unique experience not equaled in the worlds of sports or entertainment. A secretive society for decades, the true story of lucha libre is brought to life in Viva Lucha Libre, a fascinating look behind the scenes and beyond the masks of history’s greatest lucha libre performers. Discover how lucha libre has influenced cinema, graphic design, art and music around the world. Fast paced, fun and informative Viva Lucha Libre is the definitive documentary about one of the world’s most intriguing ways of life.
K E Y D A T A
Runtime: 36 Minutes
Aspect Ratio: 4 x 3 Video
Production Format: Mini DV
Exhibition Format: Beta SP
Completion Date: February 2012
Country of Production: USA, Mexico
Genre: Documentary Short
Language: English, some Spanish with English subtitles
Production Company: Top Rope Productions
Copyright: © 2012 Top Rope Productions
F I L M A K E R S
Hermandos Pardo SA
Migel Del Valle Pieto
Why Not Coco, Inc.
F E A T U R I N G
Blue Demon Jr. - Legendary Luchador & Son of Blue Demon
Sandra Granados - Head of Press Consejo Mundial de Lucha Libre (CMLL)
Heather Levi, Ph.D. - Assistant Professor Department of Anthropology; Temple University
Author: The World of Lucha Libre: Secrets, Revelations, and Mexican National Identity
Dan Madigan - Writer - Author: Mondo Lucha a Go-Go: The Bizarre and Wonderful World of Wild Mexican Wrestling
Víctor Rubén Martínez Avendaño - Owner of Deportes Martínez and Expert Mask Maker
José Samuel Martínez López, Ph.D. - Professor Department of Communication; Universidad Iberoamericana Ciudad de México
Patton Oswalt - Actor, Producer, Writer, Comedian
Eric Zolov Ph.D. - Associate Professor Department of History; State University New York, Stony Brook
Author: Refried Elvis: The Rise of the Mexican Counterculture
K E Y L O C A T I O N S & P R O M O T E R S
Estadio de Béisbol Calimax
Pico Rivera Sports Arena
Various Underground Arenas
Consejo Mundial de Lucha Libre (CMLL)
World Wrestling Association (WWA)
La Fuerza Mexicana de Lucha Libre (FMLL)
Asistencia Asesoría y Administración (AAA)
Top Rope Productions Presents
a documentary short by
DIRECTOR: Brad Bemis
Viva Lucha Libre is the second documentary directed by Brad Bemis. His directorial debut was the feature length documentary Venice: Lost and Found with Dennis Hopper, Ray Manzarek and Gregory Hines, which provided a unique view into a Los Angeles neighborhood with an interesting history and cultural significance. Movie critic Kevin Thomas noted in his Los Angeles Times review of the film.
"...an affectionate but balanced and clear-eyed look at the past and present of Southern California's most colorful beach community…”
Growing up in Los Angeles Bemis has always been drawn to the varied subcultures of the city, which lead him to study Anthropology and History at the University of Southern California. Bemis’ passion of society's various subcultures and creative communities is reflective in his filmmaking and choice of material. Bemis is a veteran location manager working on feature films and television.
WRITER: Dan Madigan
Dan Madigan has worked in rock & roll, horror movies and pro wrestling - everything parents warn their kids not to do! As a road manager for various rock bands, screenwriter, and booker, producer and writer for the WWE Madigan has had a varied career in the entertainment field. As a youth Madigan fell in love with lucha libre matches and Mexican horror movies when they were first introduced to American TV in the 70’s. This early infatuation inspired him to write the HarperCollins published and critically acclaimed book Mondo Lucha A Go-Go: The Bizarre and Wonderful World of Wild Mexican Wrestling, the first in-depth look into the history and cultural significance of Mexico’s lucha libre which was the template for the documentary Viva Lucha Libre.
MUSIC SUPERVISOR: Danny Amis aka: Daddy-O Grande
Musician and producer Danny Amis is perhaps best known as a founding member of the musical group Los Straightjackets, but his contribution to the world of guitar instrumentals is much more influential. His first band The Overtones brought guitar instrumentals to the late 70s Twin Cities punk scene, which lead to a much bigger splash when Amis moved to New York City joining the Raybeats contributing to several records including the seminal Guitar Beat. Amis moved on to Nashville to trade roles from touring musician to engineer/producer working at the Grand Ole Opry, TNN, Nashville Now and yes, Hee-Haw. The stability provided Amis the opportunity of leisure travel and he became enchanted with Mexico City and its lucha libre scene, which inspired the donning of the silver and blue mask, the creation of the persona of Daddy-O Grande and the founding of Los Straightjackets. After 17 years of success including 14 critical albums, a Grammy nomination, numerous television appearances, and over 1500 live performances worldwide the biggest impact of Los Straightjackets’ fusion of instrumental surf music and lucha libre occurred south of the border where dozens of surf instrumental bands have been formed in Mexico City. Many of these bands have also embraced lucha libre iconography performing in masks. Along with performing at massive music festivals in the city he considers his second home, he has produced the debut album by instrumental sensation Lost Acapulco. Amis’ influence and dedication to the instrumental music scene in Mexico City has garnered him the title Godfather of Mexican Surf.