A seemingly noteworthy year for films about Muhammad Ali, with The Trials of Muhammad Ali, the feature documentary from Kartemquin Films, and HBO Films’s fictionalized Muhammad Ali’s Greatest Fight, already making their public debuts in the last 3 months.
Today brings word of a 3rd (although there are probably others we aren’t aware of currently) Muhammad Ali film, also a documentary, titled When Ali Came to Ireland, which claims to capture the legendary boxer’s week-long 1972 trip to Ireland, for a match.
More from the filmmakers on the film:
Self proclaimed ‘World’s Strongest Publican’ Michael ‘Butty’ Sugrue pulled off a massive sporting coup in 1972 when he convinced Ali’s promoter that he was good for the $300k down-payment required to bring Ali to Ireland and then largely paid for proceedings in beer-stained bank notes. The trip had a huge impact on those Ali met and, some say, on the man himself. The documentary reveals that his trip to Ireland influenced how Ali viewed white people in the aftermath of his conversion to Islam and his declarations that white people were devils.
The documentary is directed by Ross Whitaker and Aideen O’Sullivan, and is said to combine a wealth of archival material with colorful reminiscences, that collectively tell an unlikely, if rarely-told tale about a sojourn taken at the height of Ali’s boxing career.
The film, which was nominated for a 2013 Irish Film and Television Academy and Award, is currently traveling the international film festival circuit, and will next screen at Irish Film New York screening showcase, which highlights critically acclaimed contemporary Irish films primarily.
It runs from October 3-6, here in NYC, with screenings taking place at the NYU Cantor Film Center.
For more information on the festival, visit Irish Film New York’s website.
Here’s a trailer for When Ali Came to Ireland: