DDocumentary Feature Competition
FightvilleOriginal Title: Fightville
Director: Michael Tucker, Petra Epperlein
USA | English
Once considered nothing more than the human equivalent of cockfighting, the sport of mixed martial arts (MMA) is now strictly regulated and has become an international, billion-dollar business, with millions of passionate fans the world over. Not surprising, really –the sight of two men fighting, going head-to-head to test their strength, skill and sheer audacity is a thrill as old as civilization itself. Raging with adrenaline, testosterone and, as often as not, a fair amount of blood, MMA has eclipsed boxing as the world’s dominant combat sport –and it’s become the fare of Hollywood as well, as the Festival presentation Warrior
Like any sport, this one has its elites –fighters who battle their way to the top of the heap and spend their glory days defending their titles in front of rowdy, adoring audiences. But the road to these lofty heights starts in far more modest surroundings. Tucked into a strip mall outside Lafayette, Kentucky, Gladiators Academy is a gym for MMA fighters where local hopefuls are put through a brutal training regimen, their sights set on winning the next fight and one day taking home a gold belt. For now, they’re reminded to mop up their own blood before going home.
Directors Petra Epperlein and Michael Tucker follow two young Gladiators fighters who hope their dedication will bring them success in the ring. Through wonderful cinematography, Fightville
captures the extreme physical and psychological strain of these young men’s training sessions and matches; it is surprisingly intimate in quieter moments, as it explores the relationship they have to their sport and how it fits into their lives. In the end, this is an inspiring story of how focus and discipline can make people’s lives better –even if they’re locked in a cage, trying to knock each other out.
–Nicholas DaviesContains: Coarse Language, Violence