Film features vegan athletes
By Erin Madison, Wednesday, June 29, 2005, www.gazettetimes.com
Three Corvallis residents are making a movie that will track a week in the lives of three vegan athletes.
The full-length film will be a combination of instructional video, documentary and reality show, said Robert Cheeke, the Corvallis resident who came up with the idea for the movie and one of the film's three subjects.
Cheeke is a professional bodybuilder and a vegan, meaning he doesn't eat or use animal products. His diet consists of plant-based foods, and he doesn't wear leather or fur.
"It's kind of a strict lifestyle," he said.
It's also a healthy and environmentally sustainable lifestyle, Cheeke said.
Tonya Kay, one of the other athletes who appears in the film, even uses vegetable oil instead of gasoline in her car, Cheeke said.
Cheeke hosts a Web site focused on vegan nutrition in conjunction with bodybuilding and fitness. The site gets a lot of visits and receives numerous e-mails about vegan lifestyles.
"There's obviously a lot of interest," Cheeke said.
That's what prompted him to make a movie.
"As far as I know, this is the first video of its kind," he said.
In addition to Cheeke, the movie features Kay, a professional dancer and part of the off-Broadway group STOMP, and Brendan Brazier, a professional triathlete.
The video examines each athlete's specific nutrition needs.
"We're calling ourselves the vegan fitness team," Cheeke said.
The team has hats and T-shirts that the athletes and filmmakers have worn at various fitness events and other places they've gone to film.
Corvallis filmmakers Kyle and Brendan Bucy have spent the past week shooting the movie.
The group went to Bend to film Brazier in an Ironman half-triathlon, went hiking in McDonald Forest and has been filming workouts at Gold's Gym in Corvallis. The filmmakers also got some footage at First Alternative Natural Foods Co-op, where the athletes talked about food choices.
The three athletes have even been living in the same house for the past few days. The movie will show their day-to-day activities, as well as food preparation and what they keep in the cupboards.
The group did a fair amount of filming in the car on the way to Bend, with Brazier talking about his pre-race rituals, and stopped at vegan-friendly stores along the way.
Weather permitting, Cheeke hopes to do some filming later this week of the group training at the beach. This would also be a chance for Brazier to show off the wetsuits he uses during the swimming portions of triathlons.
The film is mainly geared toward people who are already vegan and interested in becoming better athletes, Cheeke said. However, athletes who are interested in going vegan would probably appreciate the film, too.
"It will be enjoyable for a lot of people," Cheeke said.
There's even some comedy in the film, he said.
In one section, for instance, some of Cheeke's friends talk about his transformation from a scrawny, 130-pound high school kid to a 200-pound bodybuilder.
The film is yet to be named. The group has brainstormed about 20 possible titles, but Cheeke wants to wait to pick one that everyone agrees on.
The movie will be available in DVD format, probably around October, he said. He hasn't decided on a price yet. Cheeke will be selling the DVD on his Web site, and the two other athletes, who both have Web sites of their own, will be doing the same. It may also be available at amazon.com and possibly at the First Alternative Natural Foods Co-op.
On the net: www.veganbodybuilding.com, www.brendanbrazier.com, www.tonyakay.com