Filmmaker with Muscular Dystrophy Wins Award for “Muscle Warriors” Documentary

Filmmaker with Muscular Dystrophy Wins Award for “Muscle Warriors” Documentary


According to Disability Horizons, an extremely talented filmmaker with muscular dystrophy recently won an Award of Recognition from The Best Shorts Film Competition. Stephanie Castelete-Tyrrell’s film, entitled Muscle Warriors, documents the experience of living with muscular dystrophy. It covers a variety of topics, from mental health to getting involved in sports like powerchair football.

Although Muscle Warriors is not yet released, we hope to provide you with 2 things by the end of this article:

  • An understanding of this prestigious award and why Muscle Warriors received it, and
  • A desire to check out Four Wheel Drive Productions, founded by Stephanie herself!

“Muscle Warriors”

The Best Shorts Film Competition

The Best Shorts Film Competition was first established in 2011. According to the Competition’s website, it is:

an avant-garde worldwide competition that strives to give talented directors, producers, actors, creative teams and new media creators the positive exposure they deserve. It discovers and honors the achievements of filmmakers who produce high quality shorts and new media, [then] promotes award winners through press releases to over 40,000 filmmakers, industry contacts and global media/distribution outlets.

Winners of the Award of Recognition include large-scale production companies like Disney Interactive, smaller companies such as Double J Productions, and filmmakers such as Fella Cedarbaum and Chasson Gracie.

Muscle Warriors: A Look at Life with Muscular Dystrophy

Stephanie’s film looks at those with muscular dystrophy who play powerchair football, also known as Power Soccer. You can see how a game is played in this exciting Youtube video.

Muscle Warriors examines how powerchair football allows individuals to:

  • Build confidence
  • Create new friendships
  • Find purpose
  • Belong to a group of supportive individuals

The documentary interviews members of a powerchair football team called Muscle Warriors PFC, hence the film’s name. Through discussions with Tom Kelly, Rhys Mallet, and Ryan O’Leary, the film educates viewers on the impact of sports on mental wellbeing. But beyond that, it also works to change the way that the greater public views both people with disabilities and those disabilities and conditions themselves.

Ultimately, Stephanie hopes that Muscle Warriors will destigmatize disabilities, rare diseases or disorders, and other conditions. She states that in the film, and through her filmmaking as a whole, she:

“demonstrated that having muscular dystrophy is not a barrier, but an aspect of life that enables you to view and film the world differently and uniquely.”

Muscular Dystrophy

Muscular dystrophy has multiple forms, such as Becker, myotonic, congenital, limb-girdle, facioscapulohumeral, and Duchenne. Each form of muscular dystrophy is caused by a genetic mutation, which stops protein production and prevents healthy muscle formation.

Symptoms depend on the subset of muscular dystrophy, but may include:

  • Progressive muscle weakness
  • Learning disabilities
  • Frequent tripping or falling
  • Changes in gait (how you walk)
  • Difficulty standing up after sitting or laying down
  • Stiff and painful muscles
  • Complications such as breathing and swallowing problems, scoliosis, trouble walking, and heart issues

Learn more about muscular dystrophy here.

Jessica Lynn

Jessica Lynn has an educational background in writing and marketing. She firmly believes in the power of writing in amplifying voices, and looks forward to doing so for the rare disease community.