DATELINE: MARCH 17, 2000
Director Barry Blaustein’s critically acclaimed documentary, Beyond the Mat, has its nationwide, theatrical release
The film takes one of the first in-depth looks at the industry, filming life behind the scenes of professional wrestling, including backstage shots at WWE, ECW and independent events. It also separately chronicles the travels of mat legends Mick Foley, Terry Funk, and Jake Roberts.
Produced over three years with a mere $500,000 budget, a grassroots campaign by wrestling fans led to this March 2000, national roll out, and subsequently, a profit of over $2 million at the box office.
The film was named Best Documentary at the Cinequest Film Festival, and was also nominated by the Director’s Guild Association for best documentary and best director. The book, The 100 Best Movies You’ve Never Seen, includes Beyond the Mat in its list, declaring that it “works on an almost Shakespearean level.”