An internationally-recognized fitness expert in peak physical condition, Ilaria was trained to conquer the challenges she faced in life.
In August 2016, Ilaria was diagnosed with breast cancer. Luckily, for most victims, breast cancer is no longer a fatal disease. For an athlete such as Ilaria, it was threatening to not only her ability to work and her livelihood, but also her passion and the motivation of her life.
Stronger for Life documents Ilaria’s fight against this disease and how she embodies her philosophy that has been the inspiration for so many – how a disciplined commitment to strengthening our bodies fortifies our hearts and minds, too; one that reminds us that while life can be hard, we can be strong.
Ilaria Montagnani is a karate black belt and weapons expert trained in the art of Iaido, Japanese sword training.
A native of Florence, Italy, she arrived in the United States as a non-English-speaking immigrant at age 19. She quickly fell in love with the country – especially New York City. Over the next 20 years, Ilaria has overcome many obstacles as a pioneering woman entrepreneur developing weight-training and fitness workout programs based on martial arts.
A gifted teacher, Ilaria has built a dedicated following of people who have improved their own lives, both mentally and physically, thanks to her groundbreaking workouts. She has trained instructors and developed programs for facilities in the U.S, Mexico, Canada, Japan, Russia, Sweden, Norway, Germany and visited many other countries spreading her training methods and philosophy – Exercise makes you stronger for life.
She continues her commitment to health and fitness and the mission to train and inspire hundreds of people per week to push themselves beyond what they think possible.
Stephanie Gaweda is a cinematographer, producer, editor, bonafide camera junkie, admirer of waterfalls. She received her first camera at the age of nine, and from floppy disks to film, her passion grew from there. Stephanie has worked on commercials, music videos, and narrative films but her real passion is in documentary and video journalism. She loves to create change through her camera lens.
Emmy award winner Vicki Sufian worked as a writer, director, producer, senior producer and executive producer of documentaries, magazine shows and studio programs at CBS News, NBC News, ABC News, CNN and PBS. In addition, she was senior producer of documentaries at MSNBC for over 14 years. Her awards include an Emmy for outstanding documentary, three Emmy nominations, a Ciné Golden Eagle, a duPont Columbia Silver Baton and a Gracie award.
DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY
Noriko Sugiura is an award-winning documentary filmmaker based in New York. As a filmmaker, Noriko has worked on projects for such distinguished organizations at The Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice, Autism Speaks and the Ministry of Education in Japan.
To our dedicated cameramen and camerawomen : Giovanni Ferlito, Erika Hearn, Benjamin Sidney, Uladzimir Taukachou, Delphine Batier and Nicola Ciccarelli
We would not have made it this far without the Powerstrike community as well as family and friends who have given such generous support.
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