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Raise Up made me feel the same feeling Pumping Iron did -- it might be the next coming, but it could potentially be more powerful.
- Marc Missioreck, VP of Sales and Sponsorships, TheFitExpo
Calisthenics, a natural movement exercise system, utilized by warriors, healers and athletes since times immemorial experienced unprecedented rejuvenation during the dawn of the new millennium. Exploding from NYC parks with Hip Hop sensibilities, yet based on classical strength training protocols of reps and sets these new urban bar masters effortlessly changed the collective consciousness of the world.
Fueled by the rise of social media, extreme calisthenics or “street workout” spread rapidly across the globe. It took hold wherever the disenfranchised devoured all aspects of American youth culture especially in Eastern Europe where the focus on body-weight and movement visually echoed Soviet style military exercises. Leagues were formed. Styles evolved. And a distinct divide developed between the old school originators of the movement and the new school practitioners of the sport.
Raise Up: The World is Our Gym keenly documents the transformation of this vibrant subculture from its NYC beginnings to international competitions. Along the way we learn, no matter which way the branches of the tree grows, it's strength remains rooted in social awareness, community building and youth empowerment.
David Iversen is a video and film producer, director and editor based in Raleigh, NC. In 1997 he wrote, directed and edited the noir-styled narrative film, "Chesterfield". Since 2000 he has focused mainly on documentaries including the award-winning "Live and Let Go: An American Death" in 2003 and "1000 Brothers & Sisters" in 2007.
David began his career in filmmaking at University of North Carolina - Greensboro where he majored in Communications with a concentration on Broadcast Production. While there, he quickly became enamored with the process of filmmaking and form a student group dedicated to the art and science of Super 8mm and 16mm film. Several award-winning student films were produced in this period but sadly most have been destroyed or lost.
After graduation David went on to work on several shorts with other local filmmakers and eventually made the 35mm feature film narrative in 1997, "Chesterfield", garnering awards for cinematography and directing. After that, he discovered a love for editing and documentary work. In 2003 he edited the powerful award-winning end-of-life documentary "Live and Let Go: An American Death". Shortly afterwards, he co-directed and edited "1000 Brothers & Sisters", a documentary about the history of one of the south's oldest continuously running homes for orphaned children, The Masonic Home for Children in Oxford, NC.
David is an accomplished video producer and editor in the corporate and industrial world as well working with several large companies and start-ups to brand their products. He lives and works in Raleigh North Carolina. He is excited to be the most recent addition to the Raise Up team and looks forward to the challenges that lie ahead.
B. Rain Bennett
Rain Bennett is an independent international documentary filmmaker who creates projects focused on cultural or social issues, food, music, art and health. Operating under his brand, Flying Flounder Productions, he writes, directs, and produces strong stories that touch the heart.
Since 2012, Bennett has been traveling the world telling the stories of the rapidly emerging Street Workout culture – a freestyle version of calisthenics that emerged in the parks and playgrounds of New York City in the early 2000’s. In the form of a feature documentary, he is the first in the world to introduce this global culture that is organized in over 80 countries, participated by millions, yet still unheard of by the average citizen. Through this journey, he has given public speeches in several countries, taught children the art of Street Workout, built workout parks for orphanages in developing countries, and produced video content for North American and European clients.
A native to coastal North Carolina, Bennett moved to New York City in 2010 and kept busy developing and producing short documentaries, creating powerful video projects for corporate clients, and freelancing for film and television shows. He briefly spent time at Deluxe Entertainment Services, a post-production facility serving the motion picture industry since 1915. There, he served as a Project Coordinator, acting as a liaison between the staff and the clients for some of the largest shows and movies shot in and around New York City.
Before moving to New York, Bennett and Flying Flounder Productions were based in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Within the first few years after graduating from NC State University, his early work was award-winning and nationally broadcast. Most notably, he was nominated twice for regional Emmy Awards for his role on the Foundation for Biomedical Research’s TV series, "Survivor Tales" (now known as "Bench to Bedside"). Typically focusing on projects that served a social cause, Bennett established a strong reputation for working with non-profit organizations and continues that tradition today.
Rain Bennett currently resides back in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, and is touring his film, "Raise Up: The World is Our Gym", around the United States throughout the fall of 2015 and internationally in 2016.
FRED "DR. G" BEASLEY
Fred Beasley, AKA Dr. Goodbody is the founder of Athletic Alchemy, where he specializes in optimal performance for young athletes.. Educating athletes, dancers, trainers, coaches and students of various calibers, Dr. G has quietly created an innovative approach to health and wellness, strength conditioning, and overall fitness that has received critical acclaim internationally.
In 2005, Dr. GoodBody began working exclusively with the NYC BARTENDAZ. Together with CEO & Founder Hassan Yasin, he has been the epicenter of a global explosion in the popularity of body weight movements that has virtually rocked the internet world and literally shifted the foundational paradigm of exercise science.
Prior to joining The BARTENDAZ collective, Mr. Gold spent several years in the music industry, wearing multiple hats on both sides of the stage during Hip Hop's golden era. Rocking the mic with legendary performers such as, B.I.G, Tupac, LL Cool J, EPMD, RedMan, WuTang, Nas, Mos Def, and The Roots, he found that the industries often glamorized media images and turned up stereotypes of the Hip Hop lifestyle were counterproductive. This provided the much needed spark of self renewal for Solomon when he chose to walk away from the spotlight at the start of the new millennium.
Ironically, the untimely death of his mother to cancer was the seed that birthed the Dr. GoodBody persona. He dedicated himself to intense personal study by devouring the subjects of anatomy, biomechanics, kinetics, and indigenous movement systems from around the globe. This smorgasbord of information gave Solomon plenty food for thought and served him well, when a chance meeting with Giant at Mt. Morris Park in Harlem spawned a partnership of epic proportions.
As Athletic Alchemist for the BARTENDAZ, Dr. G has been featured on numerous media outlets, including CNN, BET, ESPN, ABC, CBS and NBC. as well as several print publications: NY Times, NY Daily News, Men’s Health, and Men’s Fitness, highlighting the BARTENDAZ original interpretation of traditional calisthenics. In contrast, this mainstream media exposure pales in comparison to the real work Dr. GoodBody has done behind-the scenes, serving thousands of students in the NYC public school system, correction facilities, and community centers.
Dr. GoodBody resides in NYC with his wife and four children. He is currently completing his first book, which he describes in detail the inner workings of the BARTENDAZ Natural Movement System.
My journey on this film began in New York City where the movement began to take hold in the late 1990s.
Co-producer Dr. G shares the love in Madrid where the global influence of NYC teams like Bartendaz was seen in a major way.
The Barstarzz Pull-up Jams, whether in New York or Miami, are always exciting events to attend. Impossible not to shoot good shots with these guys!
Norway was probably my favorite country I visited during my travels. Here I am in the early days of spring with Ahmed Kerigo.
Athletes, judges, organizers, and spectators from all over the world joined every August in Riga, Latvia.
Team USA in Riga!
We spent some time at an orphanage in Uganda filming and building a workout park for the kids. It was easily the most special and touching part of my trip.
A brief moment of quiet reflection.
It got awfully cold with Denis Minin in Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine, but the city looked beautiful in December!
Cecilia Braekus, the worlds best female boxer, has a boxing club in the city slums of Kampala, Uganda. These girls and boys were tough!
The strong women of Barbarrio in Madrid, Spain.
Training the kids of Uganda in the art of freestyle pushups!
Speaking at a press conference before the World Cup stage at Fredrikstad, Norway.
Ukraine has beautiful women, so I couldn't really say "no" to this! ;)
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