Breaking and Entering

What would you do to get into the Guinness Book of Records?

Breaking and Entering The Guinness World of Records contains the most bizarre human achievements imaginable. But who are the crazy people behind the feats? From the grape catchers, to the hula hoopers and the 'jogglers', this humorous, but strikingly insightful documentary introduces us to the colourful characters who devote their lives to the oddest frontiers of human excellence. A delightfully eccentric human odyssey that is not to be missed.
Ashrita Furman groans as he tries to whirl a 17 foot hoop around his waist. Spinning around, the huge circle of steel looks like it should chop him in half. After several spins, he collapses to the ground exhausted. He has just set the world record for 'Largest Hula Hoop', as well as the record for the number of records held by an individual: 101. "I think it was the sense of perfection, the being the best in the world at something, that appealed to me", says Ashrita, his face lit up with a smile.

While some may look at the triviality of many of the records broken the record-holders are almost religious in their faith in what they do. "I believe man is born with two major responsibilities. One is to challenge nature and the other is to challenge ourselves."

"I trained early in the morning as I didn't want anyone to see me." From an inauspicious start Michal became the record holder for Joggling, juggling while jogging. Years of training at 4 in the morning brought him the world record, one he thought he would hold for a long time, until he got this phone call. "How do you feel about Zach Warren breaking your record?" But instead of being disappointed Michal was excited by the competition. Instantly Michal challenged Zach to a duel. Ever since they have been trading records.

And sometimes it all becomes too much, "I just want to go home now", says George Hood, Stationary Spin Cycle Marathon record holder near the end of his 111 hour record attempt. There are many uplifting reason to break records, but for George there are also painful ones. "Whatever I've done, it's never been good enough for my parents". But at times like these all motivation is useful.

The most amazing thing about this band of committed record-breakers, they will always come back to setting records, no matter what happens or what anyone says. "That's the most amazing thing, this is what he is really into", Steve, the grape-catcher's brother says. Even Ashrita isn't stopping at 101, "I'm never going to stop breaking records. I'd love to die doing a Guinness record."

Laurel Official Selection, Thessaloniki Film Festival, 2011

Laurel Official Selection, Big Sky Documentary Festival, 2011

The Producers

Benjamin Fingerhut was born and raised in Indiana. After graduating from DePauw University with a writing degree, he moved to Chicago and began making short films. An award-winning screenwriter, Benjamin has always had a fascination with the human condition. Constantly trying to get to the root of what makes people tick earned him the nickname "Mr. Questions" from his wife, and soon Benjamin made the inevitable transition to documentary filmmaking. He chose the subject of world record breakers as his first non-fiction effort.

Making The Film

I spent a good part of my childhood poring over the Guinness Book of World Records and often dreamt about what it would be like to meet the woman with the curly, long fingernails, the man with the beard of bees, or the man with the most cigarettes in his mouth. They were all fascinating to me. I wondered what they were like. Were they married? Were they billionaires? Was there a secret record-holders handshake? And most importantly, why did they do it?
20-something years later I set out to answer those questions. Over the course of five years I immersed myself in a world of finger snappers, basketball spinners, jogglers, phone book rippers, and grape catchers, and I found that behind these (sometimes ridiculous) records were very human beings and the stories that unfolded surprised me. I was not only struck by their dedication, hard work, passion and drive, but there were also tear-jerking moments of sadness and sacrifice that I didn’t expect. The result is a quirky, funny, happy, sad, and inspirational story of ordinary people doing extraordinary things.

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