Cleveland International Film Festival } March 22 – April 1, 2023 } Playhouse Square

Westside vs The World

Year: 2019
Country: United States
Run Time: 95 minutes

Westside vs The World

Located in Columbus, Ohio, Westside Barbell is a renowned workout club that focuses on powerlifting, a strength sport with three lifts: squat, bench press, and deadlift. To put it simply, these super-jacked individuals lift some insanely heavy weights. In fact, one Westsider had a combined record of 3,005 pounds. The owner of the invitation-only gym is Louie Simmons, a former champion lifter who rewrote the rules on weight training (today, his techniques are used in other professional and collegiate sports). Louie—now in his mid-60s—is notoriously rough. Under his roof, you’re either breaking records or you’re out. The environment is brutally cut-throat with less than stellar conditions as Westside has been housed in garages and rundown strip malls. Brawls and shouting matches are commonplace, with athletes literally working until (or while) they bleed. Louie is obviously doing something right. Many of the lifters consider him a father figure, and Westside consistently produces some of the best athletes in the sport. Narrated by Ron Perlman, WESTSIDE VS. THE WORLD is a fascinating, in-depth documentary about the intense, fiercely competitive world of powerlifting. —E.F.

CIFF43 Screenings

Thursday, March 28, 2019 at 9:25 PM

Near West Theatre

Friday, March 29, 2019 at 1:00 PM

The Sports Section

Local Heroes Competition

Michael Fahey

Michael Fahey has worked on many sports and health documentaries, as well as the NFL Network, E!, and Travel Channel. Since starting work on his film in 2014, Michael has squatted 545 pounds, bench pressed 365 pounds, and deadlifted 515 pounds – all raw, gym lifts.


Michael Fahey

Michael Fahey

Film Contact
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