AEW star Ryan Nemeth recently appeared on the Into The Danger Zone podcast to promote his new film “HEEL,” which is all about sexual assault/harassment in the world of professional wrestling. Nemeth discusses crowdfunding the film, and thanks AEW and president Tony Khan for being super supportive of the project. Highlights from the interview are below.
How he crowdfunded the film HEEL and how he thought it would get him blacklisted from the business:
I crowdfunded it. In 30 days, raised a gigantic budget [for ‘HEEL’], thank you everyone who helped with that, thank you [Chris Denker] for helping with that and we shot this movie and cut the script down a lot and started hopefully — the goal was to start a conversation about sexual assault in indie wrestling okay, so that was very not talked about and I was prepared that this was going to get me blacklisted from wrestling forever because I was sure that this was gonna fall on deaf ears or just have me being a guy just making up sh*t, you know? Then the pandemic happened and during post-production while we’re editing it, during the editing process, the Speaking Out thing started happening. It was like July or June or whatever and people started talking about literally the thing I was making a movie about and fans were kind of being like, ‘Woah, we didn’t know this was happening. Oh my God, this is terrible.’ Then I started to think, number one, ‘Awesome, that’s great. This sh*t will all be out there and exposed.’ But also, ‘This will maybe be well received by the wrestling community versus ruining my career,’ you know? It sucks that any of it is true but I’m glad Speaking Out happened and I did not get blacklisted from wrestling as it turns out and the film has went on to screen at so many festivals and win so many awards and be really well received for the most part.
How supportive AEW and President Tony Khan have been towards the film:
And I gotta say, to credit AEW and Tony Khan and everybody there, they’ve been so mentally supportive of this [‘HEEL’ film]. To Tony even saying, ‘Hey, if you wanna go to film festivals and take some of our camera crew and do interviews, we’ll post them. Let us know’ and they always retweet all the [promotional material] and stuff. Again, unheard of anywhere else in my life and anywhere else I’ve worked at so, great. Very, very great company, very supportive and thanks to all them for helping out man.
Says some fans thought he was trying to profit off of the #SpeakingOut movement:
The very few percentage of people who attack me online and say, ‘Oh, you used the Speaking Out movement to make a profit’ or whatever. There’s just [logical] reasons that doesn’t make sense. Number one, I started making the movie several years before the Speaking Out movement happened. Secondly, there’s no profit. I’ve lost so much money on this movie. Short films do not make profits bro. I spent most of my own money on this and you have to pay to submit [to] the festival and no one is giving you a check when you win an award.
(H/T and transcribed by Post Wrestling)