Inspired by a short documentary of the same name, Bearpark feature film will explore issues relating rehabilitation from the criminal justice system. The characters in our story have all found boxing to be their guiding light, and the center of our film is Bearpark Boxing Gym, in County Durham, England.
Bearpark is an ex-colliery town that was badly affected by the miners strikes, and the ultimate demise of coal mining in England in the 1980's and 1990's. Gary grew up with little education in a time of severe austerity, and spent his childhood stealing food and coal to stay warm and fed. Over the years this escalated into a life of crime, and Gary was given two prison sentences for violent crimes against the person. In his second prison term Gary learned to read and write, and eventually began to realise his self worth.
Now, years later Gary has turned his life around and uses his respected and influential position in the community he grew up in to discourage young people from taking the path in life he chose.
Since the making of our short film in 2014 Gary has become joint founder of Positive Directions NE, and has this summer won a two year contract with HMP Durham. His company is tasked with motivating inmates to make use of the various training and educational programmes available to them. This is considered a good step towards positive rehabilitation.
Gary uses our film as a unique way to communicate his background with the inmates, and has at times received a standing ovation. Once the inmates realise Gary was once in their position, they begin to trust him. For many inmates Gary is the only person they've ever met who's been successful in turning their life around. Positive Directions NE believe our short film was instrumental in winning the contract with HMP Durham.
Since the original film, MadeGood has kept a strong relationship with Gary and the Bearpark boxing community, and are now about to embark on a more ambitious, feature length project.
Our feature length documentary film will follow a young person at a similar crossroads to where Gary found himself in his youth. In a town so close to one of the UK's leading red-brick Universities, Bearpark's younger generation struggle to find inspiration and opportunity. Where fighting outside the ring is often a way of life, many seek a better future through boxing. In Gary's own words, he tends to be so much more than just a boxing coach, he's their ear, and their guide. But is Gary's lifetime of experience and tireless dedication enough to keep them off the streets and out of prison?
Combat sports are dangerous, and when a fighter enters the ring they put their life on the line. Training for a fight is a search for one's own physical and mental limits, It takes discipline, dedication, and complete trust between trainer and fighter. We'll follow our protagonist over a 3 to 6 month period as, Gary at Bearpark Boxing Gym, and Paul at the Unity Gym Durham, train them for the fight of their life so far, and the climax of our film.
This feature film is a much more ambitious than our original short movie, and has the potential to reach a bigger audience with an inspirational message. In the process of making this film we will create viral clips, interviews and a mini-website within www.madegood.com to host a crowdfunding project aiming to raise over £10,000 for the community gym, that will be promoted by the film and launched at the same time. MadeGood.films is now looking for funding possibilities to make this feature length documentary and crowdfunding project.