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Arts Council Independent Film Series Has “STRONG” Finish


The Arts Council, Inc. and Gainesville State College present the independent feature film “STRONG!” with Director and Producer Julie Wyman as part of the South Arts Southern Circuit Tour of Independent Filmmakers at the Smithgall Arts Centeron Thursday, April 18, 2013. Ticket price includes the movie and the Meet the Filmmaker Q&A session following the film screening.


In Strong! Cheryl Haworth is a young woman with a big dream: to be the strongest woman in the world. As the 300-pound U.S. Olympic weightlifter prepares for Beijing 2008, she struggles with injury, confidence, and her place in a world where larger women are not readily accepted. A visual artist with a personality that has earned the nickname “Fun,” she is also America’s top Olympic weightlifter, ranked well above all men and women on Team USA. But at a weight of 300 pounds, she doesn’t easily fit into standard chairs, clothing sizes, or pre-conceptions. The film explores the contradiction of a body that is at once celebrated within the confines of her sport, and shunned by mainstream culture. Through Haworth’s journey, we learn not only about the sport of lifting weight, but also the material, psychological, and social consequences of a having a body that doesn’t fit.




“exuding cool with snazzy black-and-white shots and a catchy soundtrack — is hardly a mere sports film.” – The Washington Post

“lets its story speak for itself [and] sticks with you… Ms. Haworth, a genial woman with a ready smile, talks forthrightly about the disconnect between the accolades she receives as an athlete and the messages American culture sends about large-bodied women. The film’s most compelling moments are not when she is competing, but when she is contemplating life after competition.”
– The New York Times, Neil Genzlinger

“‘Strong!’ has a universal appeal beyond the world of women’s weightlifting… Haworth proves herself to be not only a champion competitor but also a compelling documentary subject, comfortable in front of the camera and in her own skin. Both the filmmaker and the subject hope that “Strong!” can provide women with a new image of physical fitness, strength and beauty, and also with the confidence to challenge themselves.”
– ESPN-W, Amanda Rykoff

“Size is part of the point of Strong!. Cheryl Haworth is enormous. A more significant part of the point of the film is her personality, which is also enormous. It’s also thoroughly engaging. Much of what Haworth has to say about being a weightlifter applies particularly to her extraordinary circumstances: she is celebrated as a champion at the same time that she is ridiculed as a freak.” – NPR, Bill Littlefield



Julie Wyman - STRONG!

Julie Wyman(Producer/Director) is an award-winning filmmaker, performer, writer, and professor. Her film Buoyant screened at MoMA New York, the Walker Arts Center, the La Jolla MoCA and at festivals internationally. Her full-length documentary A Boy Named Sue aired on Showtime, MTV’s Logo TV, and screened at festivals internationally, winning the 2001 Sappho Award for Best Documentary and nominated for the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation’s Media Award for Best Documentary. Wyman holds a MFA from the University of California, San Diego. She is currently a Professor of Digital Filmmaking in the Cinema and Technocultural Studies Department at UC Davis.


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