PREP dives into the overlooked sport of competitive bodybuilding and the multitude of pitfalls that go unspoken. Our team aims to spark a conversation about eating disorders, toxic masculinity and the never-ending chase for perfection on the hedonic treadmill.
Mission StatementAs a former competitive bodybuilder, I've worn the same exact shoes as these tough athletes, even at the expense of my mental health in order to complete "the mission." These experiences revealed how little of a platform this sport has been given in the media. I feel obligated to start that change.
About The Project
I stand in a dark grey tent.
A pair of rubber gloves spread spray tan throughout my lean muscular body.
I am surrounded by my superheroes; dogged artists who use their bodies as a canvas sculpted by dumbbells and food scales. I felt fearless in their presence, despite the isolation that came with this journey and the way my parents stared at my tan when I came home that night.
My experience with the sport of bodybuilding has been nothing shy of polarizing. While I’ve never felt more confident as my body transformed into one of a Greek statue, my mental health hit rock bottom through episodes of binge eating and relentless dedication towards pursuing perfection. I found myself trapped in a world fueled by toxic hustle culture and false positives about masculine beauty that ultimately revealed childhood traumas in need of attention.
PREP is a portrait of all that can simultaneously build and destroy us; an expression of the traumas we attempt to evade and the loneliness that accompanies many when striving to push our limits.
My experimental short film is a commitment to dive deep into the psychology of competitive bodybuilders. A series of unflinching vignettes with pulsing techno music as the heartbeat to our hero’s sprint towards the winning physique. I aim to explore underneath the armor of these athletes to show the multitude of triumph and tragedy within this overlooked sport.
I feel a responsibility to remind these modern-day gladiators to breathe; you’re not alone.
Zay Anyasor is an IFBB Professional Bodybuilder within the Classic Physique Division. Zay and I worked together on my previous short film titled STAGE READY. Zay had zero acting experience prior to this film, but I was confident in Zay’s personal experience with the subject matter and he exceeded all expectations.
Zay is portraying a competitive bodybuilder who refuses to slow down and prep for the real internal issues that need to be addressed. We are taking a deep dive into the taboo topics of toxic masculinity, hustle culture and eating/body image disorders. Films that portray the mental health struggles of black men are far and in between. Zay and I are determined to provide a new perspective and hopefully start conversations that need to be had.
Very few movies have been made about bodybuilding, even fewer that accurately portray the complex layers that encompass this extreme sport. I cannot imagine a more qualified actor for this role than one from the world we've both engrossed ourselves in.
Diet plans. Cheat meals. Post-show binge.
A bodybuilder’s work of art is not only built by resistance training and cardio, but FOOD, which is arguably the most important variable to success. It’s fuel for the body like gas is to a car.
As prep wains on, scrolling through food porn on social media and the growing temptation to consume those forbidden foods stifles many competitors. The mental battle to stay on track or give in and the guilt that can plague many of these athletes is an experience that extends well beyond the sport.
I worked with an eating psychologist after my latest competition to restore a healthy relationship with food. I know for a fact there are countless people out there who struggle with the same thing.
I am very influenced by the work of Gaspar Noe, Claire Dennis, and Wong Kar-wai. The fearlessness of these directors taught me that the biggest obstacle to manifesting our scripts is ourselves. I wanted to remove all creative blocks and at least give any idea a chance in the writing room.
Concepts for this project began forming after viewing Gaspa Noe’s CLIMAX. The film’s non-stop energy and boldness introduced me to a new world of storytelling; how a film makes you feel is just as important as the actual plot.
My love for electronic music has blossomed over the last decade and it felt about time to finally express that in a film. After lifting weights for hundreds of hours to this music blasting in my ears, I realized the repetitive beats of these songs align with the monotonous lifestyle that breeds success in the sport of bodybuilding.
Under the surface, bodybuilding is an extremely emotional sport, which often goes unspoken due to the nature of the grind. As we follow Zay’s journey to his competition, the film will feature random scenes within black and white voids to communicate the volatile headspace of our relentless protagonist. Between an orange being violently squeezed, a man within a cage and a group of dancers in a neon lit club, I’m confident that these new ideas will convey the range of emotions that many athletes feel internally.
The relationships I’ve cultivated throughout a decade of filmmaking has allowed me to bring on an amazing crew of people to make this movie happen. We’ve learned valuable lessons throughout each project and are always pushing to present something new in our work. Growth in any art form requires taking risks and stepping outside the cozy, yet dangerous comfort zone. Combining a niche interest with an experimental twist will push us into new territory and we cannot be more excited.
We are nearly cast and are set to shoot during the first week of November.
The goal is to start post-production towards the end of November and have the film finished by Spring 2022. We’re looking forward to a festival run that can reach a large audience who might otherwise not be exposed to this type of story. We’re also planning to extensively push the film over social media in order to reach the ever-growing fitness community
COVID-19 is still a concern, but fortunately, all of our cast and crew are vaccinated. There will be mandatory COVID testing prior to filming and we will have plenty of PPP available on set.
As the film industry shifts, it can be overwhelming to think about what the future holds. At the height of the pandemic, movie theatres were closing their doors for an unknown period of time. Movie theatres opening back up makes it clear how beloved the movie experience is and it’s crucial that we keep that alive.
One of the best ways to celebrate films and ensure that it doesn’t become a dying art is to support independent filmmakers. Movies are expensive, it’s a common fact, and although we are able to put some of our own money into our passion projects, we need your help.
We spent weeks carefully analyzing what is necessary to make this film happen. Here is what the money will go to:
By the time cameras roll, Zay would have prepped his body for over 16 weeks, which is physically and emotionally demanding. We are setting a new precedent by compensating team members like Zay and it’s important to pay him for his hard work. There is a large dance sequence that will require a variety of dancers and we’ll have to cover their payment and rehearsal space. We also have a plethora of locations based in the New York area that we’ll need to rent for a day. The experimental nature of this film requires unique art design (including a human sized cage).
There is an endless list of costs that have to be considered and we can’t make this happen without your help. Your contribution helps independent filmmakers tell original stories and we couldn’t be more grateful.
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About This Team