Showman is a short documentary film featuring Justin Herbst, a quadriplegic man living with cerebral palsy, and his journey to break the stereotypes of his disability. He is wheelchair bound, but he doesn't let that limit himself - he goes to work, he commutes to the city, he goes to wrestling matches, and he lives mostly independently. However these are not extraordinary things for him. Able-bodied people praise Justin for living a mostly independent life, calling him an inspiration and a hero, but he emphasizes that he is just like everyone else.
In Showman, Justin reveals his passion for wrestling and how it goes way beyond just entertainment. It's a way for him to live vicariously through the wrestlers, his ultimate dream being on stage one day performing alongside his friends. Justin's ultimate dream is to achieve things that are truly extraordinary, inside and outside the ring.
Armin Korsos, Director & Cinematographer
This film goes way beyond just a surface level relationship with Justin and I. This film was a delicate subject to cover, as so many films have been made about quadriplegics yet they all have the same theme - make the audience feel sorry for the main characters. Justin was the first to address this issue, even at the very first meeting. He described his frustrations with able-bodied people and the stereotypes they defined him with. I wanted to explore this story with a different approach, showing that just because you are wheelchair bound doesn't mean that people should feel sorry for you. Justin and I go way back, his siblings Clay and Kacie having babysat my brother and I when we were younger. I knew all along there was a story to explore with Justin, and the right time came in the fall of 2019 to start filming. Justin took me on an unexpected journey, and I can not wait to share this film with everyone.
William Pritts, Editor & Post Production Audio
As an editor and sound designer, I am always looking for projects to work on that break free from typical technical workflows and require for me to grow personally as the story develops; this film is exactly that. I met Armin through Columbia College Chicago’s documentary program and without knowing anything about Justin, my initial interest in this film probably mirrors the initial interest our audience will have: “Wrestling is super cool and I want to know more about this guy is able to be a wrestler”. This film demanded much more of me than to just make a film with cool wrestling shots. As I combed through hours of interviews and footage with Justin it challenged my perception of disabilities as an able-bodied person, and I hope that this story and Justin’s words are a catalyst for the same introspection for our audience.
When and Where can I watch the film?
Showman will be available for private screening online in early 2021. Our goal right now is to build up our fanbase, get people talking about the film, and then launch the virtual premiere. We are hoping to do it in February or March of 2021. Stay tuned!
-Armin and Will