In a recent post about Warrior I think it was, I made a remark about getting tired of seeing inspirational dramas about white fighters (whether boxers, wrestlers, MMA, etc); films that seem to have become fashionable again in Hollywood in the last 4 or 5 years – 2 of them have been Oscar contenders, one that’s been buzzed about this year, and another was recently announced with Eminem starring and Antoine Fuqua directing.
Well, here’s a switch… an “against-the-odds” drama, associate-produced by former heavy weight boxing champion Lennox Lewis, that centers on the story of a young black teenager, set in Jamaica, struggling to realize his dream as a champion boxer, with a politically turbulent community (including his family) as the film’s backdrop.
Titled Ghett’a Life, the film is the work of Jamaican director Chris Browne, whose last film, released in 1999 (a violent micro-budgeted crime drama titled Third World Cop), was well-received in Jamaica, reportedly breaking box office records there, earning Ja$21 million (or about $250,000).
Ghett’a Life screened in September as part of the CaribbeanTales 2011 Toronto Film Showcase, and now UK sales company Jinga Films has set the film up for distribution in the UK, and it’ll be released theatrically in the UK starting this weekend, on 12 screens.
So those of you across the pond will be able to check it out if it’s of any interest.
Here’s the rest of the film’s story… trailer underneath:
Ten years in the making, the wholly Jamaican film, funded by local investors and featuring indigenous talent and music, is a high octane no holds-barred depiction of what life is and can be like in inner city Kingston.
Derrick dreams of being Jamaica’s next world light weight boxing champion. He knew from an early age that he had the ability to out box even the bigger boys on his lane but it’s election year and politics divide the country and Derrick’s community. His father, a loyal party supporter, forbids Derrick from going to the boxing gym, as to do so he has to cross party lines.
Derrick defiantly follows his heart and is confronted with the serious repercussions of his decision. The don of Derrick’s community, Sin, is set on keeping him from crossing over to the “other side” even if it means destroying Derrick’s dream and Derrick’s father is so blinded by political tribalism that he sees Derrick’s actions as betrayal. On the “other side” , at the gym, is a coach who becomes Derrick’s mentor and someone who shows him that Jamaica is bigger than just one community and that Derrick’s dreams are worth fighting for.
Derrick’s journey of discovery takes the audience through his coming of age and the realisation that anything that divides cannot be good for anyone. The ignorance of divisiveness gives way to the triumph that comes with unity.
Ghett’A Life, a Jamrock film production, is written and directed by Chris Browne and stars Teddy Price, O’Daine Clarke, Chris McFarlane, Etana and Lenford Salmon. Browne, winner of the Grand Prize at the Hartley Merrill International Screenwriting Competition for Ghett’a Life at Cannes in 2006, has made it his passion to grow a film culture in the Jamaica. Ghett’a Life is his second feature film – his Third World Cop, released in 1999, still holds the record as the largest grossing Jamaican film of all time.
Here’s the film’s trailer: