Big honor for "The Hollywood Hunk."
Ryan Nemeth, prior to his time in AEW, was working on a short film called “HEEL.” A passion project that is very close to him, the movie deals with sexual assault and some of the more gritty nature of pro wrestling behind the scenes.
Today, Nemeth took to social media to announce that the movie had been named an official selection for the Oscar Qualifying HollyShorts Film Festival.
BREAKING: HEEL is named Official Selection of Oscar Qualifying film festival pic.twitter.com/GLIEmlFwcd— Ryan Nemeth (@ryrynemnem) August 27, 2021
Recently, Nemeth spoke about the real-life inspiration for this film in a post on Instagram.
In March of 2018 I discovered very unsettling news about some of the people in my little indie pro wrestling social circle. I immediately cut ties with those I no longer wanted to be associated with. I stopped doing certain shows, I moved, I no longer communicated with certain people. (Sadly, as it turns out, the little I did know was only the tip of a disgusting iceberg. I wouldn’t know that until years later.) I was so mortified I stopped doing shows altogether. I didn’t know what to do- it’s not an option really to speak up for those who wish to remain anonymous- that’s their story and their choice. Jump to March of 2019: @anna_lore challenged me to write about it. So I did. I sent filmmaker @maggielevin a script I wrote called HEEL. It dealt with sexual assault and harassment in indie wresting. If I couldn’t directly address the issue, maybe I could make a piece of art that could attack it from a different angle. Maybe that would inspire others. Maybe that would help to expose those rotten characters who needed to be exposed. Maybe it would lead to something, anything. Soon after, I ran a 30-day campaign on @seedandspark and with the help of 800 or so pledges from around the world, we raised the budget. Maggie was in. We shot HEEL in a week. As we went into post-production (editing, sound, color, etc), the world went into a covid shutdown. I was privately worried that my film would upset fans and supporters of some of the wrestlers they loved, and this whole venture would get me blacklisted from the business for speaking up. Fine by me- a business that allowed people like that to thrive isn’t one I wanted to be part of anymore. Then the #speakingout movement hit wresting. I realized people were ready to talk about this stuff and that this film might be received better than I imagined. It’s now August of 2021. I didn’t get blacklisted. HEEL has premiered on the film festival circuit- it has screened & won awards in the USA and multiple other countries. I’m so proud of how well it turned out. I am endlessly grateful to every single member of the team: cast, crew, backers- everyone involved. Art can give a voice to those who don’t have one. Go make your art.
This year's festival will take place between September 23 and October 1. Learn more about the festival here.