Opening bell for boxing film fest looms

Fans of fight films have something to look forward to, with the impending first annual Shadow Box Film Festival looming. The festival, which runs Nov. 30 through Dec. 1, will exclusively feature boxing films. It unspools at the SVA Theatre at 333 W. 23rd St. in Manhattan.

Here is an excerpt offered by the organizers, led by director David Schuster, explaining why they put together the fest:

Boxing has always made for great drama. There are few moments in sport as exciting as the culmination of a great fight. Victory or defeat decided by one final round. One hundred and eighty seconds of relentless give and take. The crowd rising, the tension building, the fighters tapping sources of pride and energy they didn't know existed. It's the stuff that legends are made of. The movie industry has been borrowing from that legend for decades. From "Rocky," to "Requiem for a Heavyweight" to "Million Dollar Baby," the genre has produced many classics. The sport is also well represented in the documentary category, with Emmy and Academy Award nods for works of non-fiction. Why? Perhaps because the fighting is so compelling. Not just in the ring, but outside it too. They are heroes. They are villains. They are icons. Simply put, they are compelling. Boxing may be violent by nature, but there is beauty within the courage that defines the sport. When it's done right, it's a symphony, a ballet. It's not fighting. It's an art form. We at the Shadow Box Film Festival would like to share some of that art with you.

The Fest just announced that Leon Gast, the Academy Award-winning director of "When We Were Kings," has joined the Shadow Box Film Festival advisory board. So, will his stellar doc screen at Shadow Box?

"At this point, it's unlikely that 'When We Were Kings' will screen at the festival," a spokesman told NYFightBlog. "There are a lot of rights issues with the film and Leon doesn't own them all. However, we do expect that he will show highlights of his upcoming film on Manny Pacquiao."

Organizers are extremely high on the quality of the offerings, including "The Good Son," which is based on the book just released on Ray Mancini and a documentary called "Buffalo Girls," which tells of a pair of 9-year-old girls from Thailand forced into boxing to help supplement the family income.