A French filmmaker is now documenting the world of professional wrestling in the Bronx.
The little seen and less heralded wrestlers of the Bronx Wrestling Federation (BWF), which holds events boroughwide, are the subject of a new 52-minute documentary by French and American filmmaker Henri Quenette called ‘Brawl in the Bronx.’
The film is to be released in March.
It is described as an intimate portrayal of wrestlers with names like John Knockout, Jo Smooth and Caveman as they struggle to make it big and pursue their love of professional wrestling, at a place where sports and entertainment intersect.
“The wrestlers from the BWF come from all backgrounds, all cultures and all nationalities,” stated Quenette. “For some, wrestling is a profession, (for) others a pure hobby and passion. The only common point is the love of wrestling.”
The film focuses on four wrestlers, including the BWF founder and trainer Bronco International, known as Frank Segundo when he is not in the ring, and how they participate in an activity that is beloved by millions, but not often understood in terms of how challenging it is for the wrestlers.
“I didn’t know much about wrestling before doing this documentary,” stated the filmaker, who now calls Brooklyn his home. “But the more time I spent with the wrestlers, the more I realized how deep the physical toll is. It takes great determination.”
He added: “It is a time-consuming activity for each of the wrestlers. I had always been under the impression that wrestling was fake. Today I can guarantee that it is anything but fake.”
The idea for the documentary came about when Quenette, who moved to New York in April, was looking for a subject for a new film, but didn’t come up with any solid ideas after bicycling around the city. But then, he states, he had an image come to mind of a masked wrestler.
“I did some research and I found out about the Bronx Wrestling Federation,” said Quenette. “I wrote them right then and there, and the following day, I was at 1123 Close Avenue shooting ‘Brawl in the Bronx.’”
The filmaker said that the BWF helps the borough and its residents through their participation in the Bronx Dominican Parade. They also do charity shows for children in hospitals and summer camps.
“I personally only found welcoming people over there,” he stated. “People were always curious about what I was doing on my own with the camera.”
To review a preview of the film see: https://vimeo.com/100566784 .
To learn more about the filmmaker visit: www.henriquenette.com .
–reporting contributed by Robert Wirsing