Sunday afternoon’s world premiere of “Wrestling With Iowa” held here at the Strand Theatre validated two long, hard years of work by Ohio filmmaker Tim Jackson.
The feature-length documentary which followed the paths of Creston/Orient-Macksburg’s Jake Marlin and Denver-Tripoli’s Brandon Sorensen to their fourth straight state championships played in front of a sold out Strand Theatre.
“They sold the show out in like a day and a half,” Jackson said after the premiere. “That was unexpected. It was good to have a full house and I think everybody enjoyed it.”
Scott Casber, host of Takedown Radio, made the trip to Creston for the premiere. Casber had already seen the film once, but said he had to be here for the premiere.
“Having worked here in Creston in my early days of radio, I knew about this place and I wanted to be here for this special day,” Casber said. “I tell you what, it was everything I hoped it would be.”
The film gives a good representation of what the sport of wrestling is all about, Casber said.
“Outstanding. First of all, wrestling fans are going to love the sport no matter what, but Tim Jackson has done an outstanding job capturing the essence of what wrestlers are — the fun part of wrestling and the low parts, too,” Casber said. “He did a good job bringing it all together.”
Jackson completed the film as his thesis project for his master’s degree at Ohio University. In all, he spent two years working on the project.
Creston/O-M head wrestling coach Darrell Frain said he was impressed with the quality of the film.
“Very impressed. The quality, I guess I shouldn’t be surprised,” he said. “When you saw the trailer, you knew. Everything about it, I enjoyed it.
“Even in our down times, he did a good job of showing what we went through,” Frain said. “I enjoyed it as a coach and I think most people enjoyed it and how it represented Creston.”
Casber, a big supporter of wrestling in the state of Iowa, said the film was an emotional trip for him.
“I’ve known everybody from No. 1 to No. 23,” he said about the 23 four-time state champions, all of whom were interviewed for the film. “Bob Steenlage (No. 1) is a great friend of mine. At the beginning of the film, when he gets emotional to start things off, I lived it with him.
“It’s a wonderful feeling knowing how much these guys respect that achievement,” he continued. “Every one of them is a special moment in time, not only in sports, but in life. I think it’s highly representative of what we all face at some point in our life.”
Even though the film concentrated on Marlin and Sorensen and their paths to a fourth-straight title, Frain said he felt it also represented Creston/O-M wrestling well.
“I really enjoyed the fact it showed how it wasn’t just about Jake, it was about the whole team helping him get along,” Frain said. “It was definitely satisfying for me as a coach.”
The premiere was sponsored by KSIB Radio, as general manager Chad Rieck paid the theater fee and purchased all of the tickets, allowing community members to see the film for free.
“That was great too,” Frain said about the local support. “First, the fact that Chad Rieck rented the theater for us. I really didn’t know who to expect to show up. We had quite a few people from the community. That’s exciting that they wanted to see the story and that they wanted to support.”
Casber also came away from the premiere impressed by the local support.
“Wonderful,” he said. “The Strand Theatre is a perfect place to do it. The Fridley family opens up their arms one more time for their local community.”
Jackson is no stranger to the support shown here in Creston, after spending much of 2012-13 wrestling season here.
Jackson estimated he sold close to 100 DVD copies of the film at the premiere on Sunday. DVD copies of the film can also be purchased online, beginning Thursday, at www.wrestlingwithiowa.com.
“Super, really supportive,” he said. “Everybody enjoyed the film, enjoyed the story. It’s nice again, nice to be able to share the story in this way. It takes a few miracles to get a film from beginning to end, and I think I hit all of them.”