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Review Photo/ERIC HRIN Angie Schoonover of Canton, in the center, poses with the filmmakers of “Takedowns and Falls,” which was shown two days last week at the Rialto Theatre in Canton. On the left is Kirk Ledger and on the right is Todd Hickey, the filmmakers. Schoonover contacted them about bringing the movie to Canton.
CANTON – Filmmakers Todd Hickey and Kirk Ledger, whose film “Takedowns and Falls” played at the Rialto Theatre in Canton last week, were pleased with the reception they received in Canton for their movie.
The documentary film focuses on Pennsylvania high school wrestling and centers on the 2006-2007 wrestling season of Central Dauphin High School in Harrisburg under Coach Jeff Swelgard. It tells the story of a group of Pennsylvania teens and their relationships within a high school wrestling team on a journey to attain a state championship.
“The community really came out for us,” Hickey said, noting he and Ledger were both happy with the support they received. “The last night was sold out. As far as we know, people drove an hour to see this film, which is really encouraging. People’s response to it was very positive, we were very happy.”
“I liked it, I thought we got a really good reception up there,” Ledger said. “It seemed like everyone enjoyed the film.” It was his first visit to the area. “I just enjoyed the whole area and getting up there and meeting the people. I enjoyed showing the film and showing it to people I may have not met otherwise.”
Hickey also noted that they liked the historic theater. He said the feedback from the community was positive.
“It was great. Everyone seemed to like it. The high school kids seemed to get something out of it, and the adults seemed to get something out of it.”
The kids, he said, were inspired, and the adults, he noted, thought it was an honest portrayal of Pennsylvania wrestling. “That’s one of the highest compliments that we could get, that it was honest, that we didn’t manipulate the film, manipulate the characters for dramatic purposes, that we were true to the characters and their plight.”
Angie Schoonover of Canton was one of those seeing the movie for the first time. Schoonover has a connection to the high school – and its wrestling program – in “Takedowns and Falls.” Formerly of Harrisburg and a 1997 Central Dauphin High School graduate, she was manager of the team, the Rams, from 1994 to 1997. Swelgard became coach of the team while she was there in 1995.
She got in touch with the filmmakers about getting the film in Canton. “I told them we have a small town, lots of wrestling fans, and we’d like to see the film.” As for the filmmakers, she said, they were positive and excited about getting it to this area.
Having seen the film last week, she said, “I thought it was fantastic. I was so excited to see it on the big screen, I was so happy with the turnout. It was a great couple nights.” She said her parents drove two and a half hours to see the film from Harrisburg; they couldn’t get tickets to the Harrisburg show. People were coming from all over the state to see it, she said.
“I thought it was very compelling. They had such a great year that season, and it could haven’t come together better for the team or the filmmakers.”
The film came to Canton as part of a sneak preview tour. There will be a national tour early next year, and Hickey said they are talking about coming back to Canton and possibly Mansfield for the national tour. Schoonover said this possibility excites her. “We hope we can find some more wrestling fans to come out and see the film.” She noted that wrestling teams, including ones from Troy, Canton and Towanda, showed up to see the movie. A bus of wrestlers came from a school district in Tioga County.
Hickey said he and Ledger, who are former wrestlers themselves and plan to release the movie on DVD in early March, both found Schoonover helpful.
“She was great, it (coming to Canton) wouldn’t have happened without her. She was sort of our handler, making sure we were comfortable and everything went smoothly.”
On a side note, Hickey said they were intrigued by the natural gas industry in the Canton area, and how it’s changing things. He noted that they saw all the natural gas industry trucks driving around, which stood out to them.
Regarding the film, its overall message, he said, is “that ultimately all it takes to be good at something is to really love it and really try.”
Eric Hrin can be reached at (570) 297-5251; e-mail: email@example.com.
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thank you Canton!!!! and all the wonderful folks at Rialto theatre!!!
the popcorn was great and the audiences even better.