• Director

    Raymond Barnett Knudsen

  • Country, Year, Length

    United States, 2023, 14:10

  • Category

    Narrative Short

  • Format


  • Festival Year


Film Screening & Ticket Information

When & Where to See this Film!

CHASING SUCCESS: 2 films about the GRIND.

April 20, 2024 @ 3:00PM • MoMI – Redstone

Film Bloc Line Up:

View the Trailer


A bodybuilding fever dream fueled by childhood trauma, food porn and acid techno music.


Raymond Barnett Knudsen, Director
Raymond Barnett Knudsen, Writer
Raymond Barnett Knudsen, Producer
Paula Andrea González-Nasser, Producer
Stephen Musumeci, Producer
Melina Valdez, Producer
Chibueze Anyasor, Key Cast
Robert W. Bevis, Director of Photography
Raymond Barnett Knudsen, Editors
Stephen Musumeci, Editors
Jacqueline Xerri, Production Designer

Director Statement

I stand in a dark grey tent.

A pair of rubber gloves spread spray tan throughout my lean muscular body.

I am surrounded by my superheroes; dogged artists who use their bodies as a canvas sculpted by dumbbells and food scales. I felt fearless in their presence, despite the isolation that came with this journey and the way my parents stared at my tan when I came home that night.

My experience with the sport of bodybuilding has been nothing shy of polarizing. While I’ve never felt more confident as my body transformed into one of a Greek statue, my mental health hit rock bottom through episodes of binge eating and relentless dedication towards pursuing perfection. I found myself trapped in a world fueled by toxic hustle culture and false positives about masculine beauty that ultimately revealed childhood traumas in need of attention.

PREP is a portrait of all that can simultaneously build and destroy us; an expression of the traumas we attempt to evade and the loneliness that accompanies many when striving to push our limits.

My experimental short film is a commitment to dive deep into the psychology of competitive bodybuilders. A series of unflinching vignettes with pulsing techno music as the heartbeat to our hero’s sprint towards the winning physique. I aim to explore underneath the armor of these athletes to show the multitude of triumph and tragedy within this overlooked sport.

I feel a responsibility to remind these modern-day gladiators to breathe; you’re not alone.

Director Biography

Raymond Knudsen (he/him) is a Filipino-American writer, director and producer based in NYC. Knudsen founded BIG BLUE PICTURES in 2020.

Knudsen has produced multiple short films including WEAPONS AND THEIR NAMES (Sundance, Palm Springs ShortFest) and MONKEY BARS (NoBudge, NFFTY).

As a director, Knudsen aims to tell slice of life stories within the worlds of bodybuilding, American football and dysfunctional families that remind people they are not alone. His latest short film, PREP, will premiere in 2023.

Knudsen is also a graduate from the FSU College of Motion Picture Arts.