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Wrestling film, The Hardest Six, now available online at
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Filming for The Hardest Six. Martin Whittier photo.

Ten years since his last match in high school, wrestler and filmmaker Martin Whittier has found a way to carry on his passion for the sport with his new short film The Hardest Six. It was fall of 2011 when Martin started to pen the script for his new movie, but it had been a dream of his ever since he was in school.

“When I was wrestling there weren’t very many wrestling films,” Martin said. At the time the 1980s film Vision Quest was the best-known film about the sport, but he felt it wasn’t a fair depiction of wrestling for his generation. For his movie, the story would not only represent the typical everyday wrestler and deal with the less glamorous aspects of struggling to find your place on the team, but it would depict believable, realistic wrestling matches.

Once Martin had secured funding, in part from crowd sourcing and selling off personal belongings, the movie went into full swing for a yearlong sprint of casting, location scouting, training, filming and much more. Martin visited many locations to find the right look for the movie’s school, Patrick Henry High. He also spent several months casting various parts including two full teams of wrestlers all from different schools across Maryland, most notably Brad Pataky, a former PSU wrestler who plays the team’s captain, Jensen.

By late June, six months into the project, with the help of Coach Mike Mazza (wrestling coordinator) and Martin’s team, the stage was set for filming. In front of 200 local extras, the cast and crew of 50 filmed the movie’s highlight match. Two additional days of filming, both at the school and a home location, wrapped up principle photography and the movie went off for post-production. Martin edited the film while composers and sound designers polished the sound of the film. By January of 2013 the movie opened to a packed theater in Baltimore for a grand premiere.

“There were many trials and tribulations along the way,” Martin said. “Wrestlers were joining and dropping off the team, a hurricane blew through the day before filming, actors were injured, and finding enough funding to finish everything at a professional level was always a challenge. But finishing this project in spite of the challenges is really what this movie is all about.”

As the movie starts to make its rounds at film festivals and to the wrestling community, Martin hopes that movie will serve to show audiences why wrestling is considered the hardest six minutes in sports. He also hopes that the story will inspire young and old wrestlers alike.

The finished film is now available online at The DVD includes bonus features such as the behind-the-scenes documentary titled The Hardest Year, the official trailer, a music video, and crew commentary.
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