I recently learned of another side to McFarlane as one of the premiere video content producers and documentarians in the world of competitive body building. This is what brings him to a Kickstarter campaign to raise the funds to finalize a documentary project on Mr. Olympia, Phil Heath: “Muscle: Rise of a Bodybuilding Superstar.” McFarlane has already released 3 films with Heath, “Unwrapped,” “Journey to the Olympia” and “Becoming Number 13.”
The documentary is largely based on footage McFarlane already shot for a video project with Heath, or as they call him “The Gift” and “The Next Big Thing.” McFarlane has untapped interview footage with other bodybuilding luminaries and Heath’s family and hopes to create a definitive portrait of one the most thrilling personalities and physiques in the sport. Heath had a dramatic run at claiming the Mr. Olympia title 3 times until finally winning in 2011 and the documentary will tell the story of his rise from a basketball player in Seattle to the most coveted prize in bodybuilding.
McFarlane mentioned one of his inspirations for the project in “Pumping Iron,” which may seem obvious as a film that featured the epic clash between Schwarzenegger and Lou Ferrigno in the Mr. Olympia competition. While the 1977 film is often considered one of the greatest documentaries ever made, and certainly one of the greatest sports films ever made, it is foremost a story, and not just a celebration of the sport. That seems to be what McFarlane is going for here, and in his Kickstarter video he notes it is a film about bodybuilding, but geared toward an audience general audience in telling Heath’s story.