The fascinating worlds of filmmaking and boxing will intersect when the second annual Shadow Box Film Festival unspools at the School of Visual Arts Theater in Manhattan on December 6th and 7th.
Building upon the success of last year’s inaugural festival, the Shadow Box Film Festival continues to be the only film festival dedicated to screening films about the sweet science, providing filmmakers from around the world a venue for their works to be seen.
“Last year’s festival was an incredible success,” said festival director David Schuster. “We are now building on that with another fine slate of boxing films, as well as some classic John Garfield titles hosted by his daughter Julie Garfield.” Schuster continued: “Also the films in this year’s festival are more diversified and have more of an international flavor.”
This year’s festival will showcase twenty four boxing films, including eleven features. The films were shot or produced in six different countries.
One country that will be well represented in this year’s festival is Ireland, which will have two films from acclaimed documentarian Andrew Gallimore included in the program, along with a short film from Matthew Dobbyn.
Gallimore’s first entry, “The Gentleman Prizefighter,” is a documentary about former heavyweight champion James J. Corbett and is narrated by Oscar nominated actor, and former amateur boxer, Liam Neeson. His second film, “A Bloody Canvas,” is the story of light heavyweight champion Mike McTigue.
Belfast’s Dobbyn will debut with “Stealing the Show,” a short film that profiles current professional middleweight Dee Walsh.
Over three thousand miles away from the Emerald Isle, Iranian filmmaker Yahya Ghobadi contacted the festival about his animated film, “Return,” now scheduled to be screened.
“The fact that we have a film from an Iranian filmmaker is exceptional and exciting,” explained festival advisory board member Robert Cassidy Jr., who oversees film selection. “The channels of communication required to secure the film were complicated, but now we have the middle -east represented in our festival,” enthused Cassidy. “Somehow a filmmaker in Iran found our festival!”
Complimenting the international flavor of the festival will be old fashioned Hollywood melodrama in the form of two John Garfield gems, “They Made Me a Criminal,” (Friday, December 6th) and the all-time classic “Body and Soul” (Saturday, December 7th).The Saturday evening screening will be hosted by the actor’s daughter, Julie Garfield.
On both evenings of the festival actors who have helped enhance the image of the boxer on film will be honored with an award in Garfield’s name.
Burt Young (“Rocky”) will receive the award on the 6th and Holt McCallany (“Lights Out”) will receive his award from Ms. Garfield on the 7th. An additional “Garfield” award will be presented to SVA Executive Vice President Anthony P. Rhodes on the evening of the 6th. Mr. Rhodes is receiving the honor in recognition of his unwavering support for the Shadow Box Film Festival and the students at SVA in their pursuit of artistic excellence.
In addition to SVA, the festival has also received support from corporate sponsors Maxim Group, and Anthony Garguilo’s A.S.G. Pest & Termite Management, both of Long Island.
The festival itself will show its unflagging support of boxers this year by making a charitable contribution to a fighter requiring help with medical expenses.
Two-time world champion Paulie Malignaggi makes his acting debut in “Omerta,” a crime film directed by Craig Tubiolo, and screening the same day, Saturday, as Malignaggi’s battle with Zab Judah across the river at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center.
Another world champion turned thespian, and festival advisory board member, Michael Bentt captured his thoughts on the festival by stating, “The films for this festival not only appeal to the boxing fan, but to anyone who is drawn to the art of great storytelling.”
The 2nd annual Shadow Box Film Festival takes place Friday, December 6th, and Saturday, December 7th at the SVA Theatre (333 West 23rd Street) in Manhattan. For tickets call (800) 838-3006. Website: www.boxingfilmfest.com