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Shadow Box Film Festival Packs Punch

By Mike Stafford: The very first Shadow Box Film Festival drew interest from the world of boxing and entertainment at the SVA Theatre in Manhattan last weekend. Perhaps it’s the savagery, or perhaps its the perputal underdog story, but there is something so compelling about the sport of boxing that inspires great movies. This festival celebrated that genre.

“I think a boxing film festival is a great idea,” said Ray Mancini, the former lightweight champion of the world. “I am really looking forward to coming to New York City for this festival. This I know for sure. More films have been made on boxing than all the other sports combined. Boxing parallels life and people understand that. That’s why there are so many well received boxing films. You get knocked down, you get back up. The idea of an all boxing film festival is long overdue.”

It was Mancini’s documentary. “The Good Son,” directed by Jesse James Miller, that won the festival’s award for Best Feature Film. The other award winners were, “Buffalo Girls,” directed by Todd Kellstein, for Best Cinematography and “Shadow Boxers,” directed by Sandi Bachom, for best Short Film.

“We are very pleased with the quality of films that were screened at our innaugural festival,” said Shadow Box Film Festival director David Schuster. “We wish these filmmakers the best of luck. Their work was an inspiration to us and those who attended over the weekend.”

The festival featured 30 films that were shot or produced in eight different countries, Cuba, Thailand, Spain, Germany, Canada, England Argentina and the U.S.

“I thought the festival was a huge success,” said Shadow Box Film Festival honorary chairmain Mark McPherson, aformer world-ranked junior middleweight contender. “It brought together two great arts, boxing and filmmaking. To have all of this come together at a venue as nice as the SVA Theatre was perfect. And for me, to spend time with my old friend, Ray Mancini, was a treat. What a great weekend.”

A wide array of fighters — retired and current — showed up at the festival – Mancini, Bobby Halpern, Seamus McDonagh, Michael Bentt, Bobby Cassidy, Paulie Malignaggi, DeMarcus Corley, Tommy Rainone, Mike Brooks, Richie Neves and Patty Alcivar. As well as other prominent boxing figures like HBO’s Harold Lederman and Aaron Cohen, Showtime’s Steve Farhood, Brian Kenny, Jim Gray and Mauro Ranallo. Also attending were Stan Hoffman and Ron Scott Stevens.

The entertainment industry also came out in full force, with actors John Slattery (Mad Men) and Holt McCallany (Lights Out) in attendance as well as Academy Award-winning directors Leon Gast and Barbara Kopple.

“It was great to see the boxing world turn out for the festival,” said Schuster. “With the Cotto fight going on at the Garden and our festival, there was truly a great boxing vibe in the city all weekend long.”

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