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WA Doc rocks the Cedar Rapids Independent Film Festival Back to Blog Articles

  • Posted on Apr 16, 2012


Even though the 2012 powerlifting season is over, the 2011 season still lives on… through film.  Knights of Iron was Woodward Academy’s first feature length documentary.  It followed the 2011 powerlifting team they went down to Corpus Christi, TX to compete.  This past weekend it played at the Cedar Rapids Independent Film Festival in Cedar Rapids, IA that was sponsored by The Iowa Motion Picture Association, Best Buy, and the local ABC affiliate.

It played twice over the 2 day festival that was held at the Collins Road Theatres and closed the Friday night session as the feature.  The film won the “Gold Eddy” as Best Pro-Am Documentary and generated a good crowd response during viewing.

Read more after the break.


The official synopsis the film is:

Every year, over 90,000 juveniles in the United States are sent to residential placement facilities for the crimes they have committed.  Some of those crimes include theft, assault, drug related issues, firearms possession, or, according to the Executive Director of Woodward Academy, for ‘being a continual nuisance to their community.’


‘Knights of Iron’ profiles Woodward Academy, a residential facility of approximately 240 delinquent students as they serve young men through the establishment of a powerlifting program.



Over the course of the 2011 season, the lifters participate in grueling practices with the end goal to compete at the USAPL High School Powerlifting National Championships.  The 2011 event was held in Corpus Christi, Texas, during the last weekend in March.  Woodward Academy has competed in the event for the past 6 years and has done remarkably well, garnering multiple individual and 5 team National Championships.  This film documents as they are working towards their 6th consecutive JV team championship.  

As the film chronicles the team and event, it also attempts to break down stereotypes of what delinquent youth are.  Under a structured, well-balanced setting, these youth behave like gentlemen and are indistinguishable from typical youth.  The unique aspect of Woodward Academy’s team is the fact that not only is it composed of delinquent youth, but the team is new every year and only has 5 months to prepare lifters who often times have never competed in a lifting event, much less an athletic team.

Running at 78 minutes in length, the film went on to generate it’s own IMDb page that you can view by clicking here.  It premiered at the Interrobang Film Festival last year and played again this past weekend at the Cedar Rapids Independent Film Festival where it won the Best Pro-Am Documentary.

According to the festival’s website, the Eddy awards are named after Thomas Edison who was a pioneer in motion picture technology.  You can read more about the festival by clicking to its homepage here.

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