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  • “Nominated for two 2013 Imagen Awards - Best Documentary & Best National Informational Program”
    IMAGEN FOUNDATION
    “...A really refreshing look at wrestling... Highly, highly recommended...”
    Scott Keith, Wrestling.InsidePulse.com
    “BEST DOCUMENTARY FILM AWARD 2013”
    35th Annual CineFestival Film Festival (San Antonio, Texas)
    “The movie promises a ‘journey through lucha libre’ and it certainly delivers… Avila captures the flash and devotion surrounding the sport and its milestones… superb direction that packs a lot of material in…”
    Jeremiah Massengale, PopMatters.com
    “...an entertaining hour that delves into the colorful, fascinating and mysterious world of lucha libre... it scores a hurricanrana...”
    Greg Oliver, Slam! Sports
    “Well produced and compelling from start to finish, this is a great introduction to the world of Lucha Libre.”
    Wrestlehustle.com
    “I did not expect that "Tales of Masked Men" would hook me from the very first scene... fascinating and illuminating... it is a remarkable documentary...”
    BOB ETIER, TECHNORATI.COM
    “…the most comprehensive glimpse thus far into the electrifying world of lucha libre.”
    The Examiner.com
    “…I’ve barely scratched the surface of the political, social, cultural and historical connections made in this beautifully edited documentary – we are reminded what makes Mexican culture so special…”
    Esther J. Cepeda, Nationally Syndicated Opinions Columnist
    “A vibrant homage to lucha libre…”
    The Spectrum Newspaper
    “A wonderfully poignant hybrid of history lesson and intimate portrait…”
    Marvin Miranda, LA Alternative Movie Examiner

    Tales of Masked Men is showing on PBS, at film festivals, and is available for download and on DVD

    Director Carlos Avila Goes Behind the Mask to Reveal
    the Mysterious and Colorful World of Lucha Libre

    Tales of Masked Men, a new documentary about the colorful, fascinating and mysterious world of lucha libre — Mexican wrestling — is currently showing on PBS, and at film festivals, and is available for download and on DVD. Shot in Mexico and the United States and filled with the passion and excitement that defines its subject, the film explores the history of lucha libre and what has made this eighty-year-old phenomenon endure. The film is directed by award-winning director Carlos Avila and is co-produced and edited by Thom Calderón.

    Described by cultural anthropologist Heather Levi as “a sport in the key of melodrama,” lucha libre springs from the same root as American professional wrestling (i.e. Olympic and Greco-Roman style competitive wrestling), but has taken on the unique characteristics of Mexico and the country’s long-standing fascination with masks. Masks conceal faces but not feelings, allowing luchadors to transform themselves into either the character of a rudo, the rule-breaking villain, or a técnico, the fair and square, technically proficient hero. Practiced in large and small arenas throughout Mexico and the U.S. as well as other countries, this “working class” sport is truly interactive, with multigenerational fans passionately involved in the high drama of the ring.

    Tales of Masked Men introduces three wrestlers, each of whom embodies different aspects of the sport and its traditions. The most revered and famous masked Mexican wrestler of all time is El Santo, once a journeyman wrestler who struggled to find a place in the lucha libre world. El Santo rose to prominence in the ring, eventually becoming an international film and television star whose persona and humanity deeply resonated with Mexicans. Originally a rudo, El Santo ultimately transformed into an icon signifying the triumph of good over evil, a national hero in Mexico whose presence is still felt today.

    Standing just 4’ 5” tall, Mascarita Sagrada is one of the most dynamic and acrobatic wrestlers working in lucha libre today. The film examines the evolution of this personcita (little person) from his early life as the sheltered child of protective parents to becoming a masked wrestler. We hear the stories of how other mini-luchadores helped Mascarita develop into the wrestling great he is today.

    Finally, we meet the classic wrestler Solar. Solar is in his fourth decade as a luchador and continues to wrestle throughout the world, regularly travelling to Japan, England, the United States and other parts of Europe. Rising out of a childhood of rural poverty, Solar found an identity and a livelihood in lucha libre. Sensing that the end of his career is near, Solar trains and prepares his son, Solar Jr., to step into the ring. Ultimately he may pass the Solar persona and mask on to his son, a lucha libre tradition that ensures immortality for the character.

    Featuring interviews with cultural commentators, wrestlers, and observers of the sport as well as archival footage and clips from the “masked wrestler” adventure films, Tales of Masked Men is the vibrant story of how lucha libre has taken root in Mexican and Latino culture and become an integral part of its very identify.

     Tales of Masked Men is a co-production of Echo Park Films, Inc., Latino Public Broadcasting and ITVS.

     

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    Best Documentary Award

    CineFestival
    2013

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    Hot Springs
    Documentary
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    Dallas VideoFest
    25

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    Punta Del Este Int’l Film Festival
    2013

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    Costa Rica
    International
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    Chicago Latino Film Festival
    2013

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    Zombie Zinema Fest 2013

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    Overtime Film Festival 2013

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    DocUtah
    2012

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    Santa Rosa Int’l
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    2012

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    DocMiami Int’l
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    2012

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    CineSol Film Festival 2013

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    Barrio Film Festival 2013

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    Reel Rasquache Film Festival 2013

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    Muestra de Cine
    GuadaLAjara 2012

     

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