Press Release: August 15, 2015 (Originally released August 10, 2015) By Gaylen Ross, GR Films, Inc. New York, NY -- For 20 years the film negative of this remarkable documentary TitleShot – probably the last to be shot entirely on 16mm film-- has been in the vault. Now a Kickstarter campaign is launched by award-winning filmmaker Gaylen Ross to get this film finished.
Life and circumstances had interrupted its completion, and other documentaries were made in the meantime. “I did films on Russian mail-order brides, Stock market fraud, Swiss banks and the Holocaust accounts, and Killing Kasztner, the story of the Hungarian Jew who negotiated with Eichmann, among other films. But at the back of my mind was this incredible boxing story that was waiting for me,” says director Gaylen Ross. “Now with Kickstarter we hope to get this gorgeous film footage out of the vaults and for everyone to see!”
Kickstarter, the terrific crowd-funding site, allows people to contribute towards the film funding and in turn receive rewards and recognition for their pledges.
The good news is that the lapse of two decades has allowed for a unique time capsule: a window into a boxing era now gone. Much of TitleShot was filmed at New York’s world-famous Gleason's Gym during a very exciting era when the place was filled with World Champions and contenders. Owner Bruce Gleason says “TitleShot shows what really happens to a professional fighter through the rise and fall of professional junior middleweight Ugandan boxer Godfrey Nyakana.” From training at Gleason's to fighting at the Great Western Forum of Los Angeles, TitleShot captures the uniquely exquisite blow-by-blow action of professional boxing through Nyakana's title quest.
Careers have risen and fallen (and some to return again) since TitleShot’s filming in the late 90’s. Godfrey is seen sparring with then up-and-coming Shane Mosely (as Shane’s father/trainer looks on) or getting pre-fight bedroom advice from legendary featherweight Kevin Kelley and his wife. Included are some of boxing's greats, like trainer Bob Jackson, former middleweight contender turned trainer, "Irish" Bobby Cassidy, and a few no longer with us -- legendary cut man Al Gavin, Muhammad Ali's trainer Angelo Dundee, and promoter Cedric Kushner.
The Kickstarter campaign has less than a month to go and the goal of $40,000 will finally get the thousands of feet of film digitally transferred, color corrected, and the audio synched to picture. “The dramatic behind-the-scenes of professional boxing with trainers, manager and boxers are fly on the wall filming, and rarely if ever accessible to outsiders,” says Gaylen Ross. From a midnight meeting post fight in a hotel lobby with trainer and manager, to a career-determining ultimatum with a fighter, it's the stuff of boxing you only see in scripted feature films.
Through the extraordinary verite cinematography of Bob Richman, (Metallica, The September Issue, Paradise Lost,) TitleShot offers some of the best in ringside fight action. The film travels with Godfrey from match to match – the preludes, the fights themselves and their climatic outcome. A former Commonwealth games gold-medal winner, Godfrey travels 3 hours on the subway each day from a tiny basement apartment in the East Bronx to Gleason's. For Godfrey this is not just a fight for a title but for his life -- manager, trainer, big money backers, wrapped up in the American dream. All the while we meet other struggling boxers who
are on their own way up or down, including a Detroit heavy weight who finds common ground with Godfrey, as both travel through South Central Los Angeles. Tough battles lead to the stunning pain that accompanies a knockout loss, or the exhilaration of a win as this roller coaster ride careens from locker rooms to midnight strategy meetings. The film stays with Godfrey and his team, as they groom him, train him, celebrate with him or pull him back from defeat until that final title shot. The title is a dream not only for Godfrey, but also for his trainer Bobby Cassidy, who confronts his own lost chances as a boxer, while pursuing the championships for his fighters.
The film will update where the fighters are now: Godfrey Nyakana has returned to Uganda and is now mayor of a district of its capital, Kampala, or fighters like Kevin Kelley, and Shane Mosely currently training his own son, while planning a comeback in the ring.
Director Gaylen Ross
Producers Gaylen Ross, Andrew Ford
Consultants: Bruce Silverglade, owner Gleason’s Gym
and Robert Cassidy, sports journalist
View a scene from TtileShot below: Credit: Gaylen Ross, GR Films, Inc./YouTube
For more information about the TitleShot Kickstarter Campaign please visit: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/391667550/titleshot. Like TitleShot on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/TitleShot/1626529884280401.
Material Courtesy of: Gaylen Ross, GR Films Inc. Used with permission.
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