What inspired you to come up with the idea for the film?
The idea was inspired by writer/director Michael Molina Minard’s experience training and fighting as an amateur boxer in Philadelphia. A professional boxer training in the same gym killed an opponent in the ring.
Minard couldn’t imagine the emotional impact on the boxer, a gentle but incredibly skilled pugilist, who killed a man with his bare hands – publicly. He couldn’t help but think, ‘if this boxer’s opponent died in the ring, what kind of physical and emotional trauma did the survivor sustain.’
How do you relate to your characters or subjects?
I am my characters. I try not to write from a place that I know nothing about either the subject or character. As a former boxer and a filmmaker, I have little or nothing other than my craft. It is my livelihood. A livelihood that conspires to crush me physically and mentally every day
What aspect of the story changed the most during writing and production?
The story the changed most in the writing and production was the relationship arc between Abdul, the boxer and his trainer, Elijah. While a short leaves little room for subplots, I felt the film was left lifeless without some emphasis on this dramatic relationship.
What influenced the visual style of your film?
Visual styles were influence by the work of photographer Howard Schatz. His collection At The Fights smashed every trope of boxing imagery.
What was the most courageous decision you or your crew made during writing and production?
The most courageous decision we made during production was committing to a “live fight” between Jon’s body-double Danny Mangual and actor/fighter Henry Deleon.
Were there any risks that you faced during writing/production and how did you find a way to embrace them?
We insisted on casting TV actor, Jon Michael Hill. Minard has seen him in a 2007 play in Chicago and was convince he was the only actor capable of handling the tremendous challenge of bring the character’s interior to the fore. As students, we had to overcome the industry and actor bias towards us to win his faith.
What risks does your story take?
Our story take a number of risks. First, we try to tell a very complicated story in a short amount of time, really pushing the envelope of the medium. Second, we don’t shy away from describing head trauma as a perilous result of boxing, but we don’t condemn the sport either.
How would you encourage others to tell their story or manage through the process of screen writing or film producing?
Find your passion, a great team and a no lose attitude.