Two local filmmakers will continue their efforts to document the Boston University wrestling team’s final season, despite failing to meet their fundraising goal by last week’s deadline.
Freelance sports writer Michael Abelson said he and his co-filmmaker, Emerson College student Brandon Lavoie, raised about $8,800 of their $25,000 goal via an online fundraising page on www.indiegogo.com. Their online campaign ended during the last week of September.
“We’re not worried about financing,” Abelson said. “This project is going to happen.”
Kevin Innis, a captain of the wrestling team, said he appreciates the filmmakers continuing efforts to make the documentary, even though they did not reach their fundraising goal. He said the documentary will be a great experience for the filmmakers as well as for the wrestlers.
“It says a lot about the character of the guys making the film,” Innis, a Sargent College of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences senior, said. “… They feel very compelled to get our story out, and it is a compelling story. It is something that we feel people should know and people should be let in on.”
Abelson and Lavoie decided to film the wrestling team’s final season in a documentary titled “It Hurts to Win” after the BU administration abruptly decided to cut the program after the 2013-14 season.
Abelson, who graduated from the University of Rhode Island in May, said some parents of wrestling team members are willing to contribute to travel costs. He and Lavoie intend to join the team for several away competitions, including matches in New York, Tennessee and Rhode Island.
“We’re still going to five, maybe six, places to follow the team around,” Abelson said. “We’re still planning on traveling as much as we were.”
Because the filmmakers don’t have the money they originally hoped to have for the documentary, less money will be spent on production, Abelson said.
“We’re just taking the money — and not really cutting — but moving it around,” Abelson said.
Abelson and Lavoie have assembled a small team, including an animator and an editor, to help with the documentary. The filmmakers also visited the first preseason practice to get some footage and meet teammates.
“They [the team] are a great group of guys, and very talented on the mat,” Abelson said. “It’s already showing through. They’re really starting to get into the swing of the season.”
Production will begin within the next few weeks and will continue through the end of the wrestling season, Lavoie, a junior majoring in film production, said.
“They are super appreciative of what we’re doing and we’re super appreciative of them letting us in and allowing us to document what they’re going through as a team and to tell their story,” he said. “That’s what we were focused on all along, so to have them be accepting of that and welcoming was pretty cool.”
Lavoie said he and Abelson’s presence did not distract the team once practice began.
“In no way, shape or form has the decision that was made to cut the program after this year change their minds as to what they want to do as a team and the goals they want to accomplish,” he said. “They are still really focused.”
Coach Carl Adams said although he is not involved with the filmmakers’ fundraising efforts, Abelson and Lavoie will work things out in the fundraising department.
“They’ll be fine in that regard,” he said. “The bottom line is that sometimes when you do a project like that, it’s just a matter of figuring things out. I wish them the best of luck on the fundraising part.”