“I didn’t want to do the same Hollywood story. You know, the one where there’s a girl with a problem, she has her fun and games. She hits rock bottom then solves her problem, and then the film ends,” said Jason Lupish, Director of Fight!.
“In Canada people try to make movies like they do in the States and it doesn’t work. To me, the movies that stand out are the ones that are just are what they are.”
In 2010, Lupish began working on a script for what would ultimately become Fight! He eventually had a full-cast read through, but it didn’t go as expected: “We were all having a good time with the script, but right after we threw it out,” he explained. “It was a completely different movie a year ago.”
Fight! is the third feature film that Lupish has directed and the second (A Kind of Wonderful Life) that he has written with Erica Sherwood, who also starred in both films. The film follows three women, Alex (Sherwood) a single mother, who gets into the underground fighting world to help provide for her family, Sam (Gabriella McAlpine) an adopted teenager who finds herself in this same space, and her stepmother Carrie-Anne (Jennifer Farrugia) who ends up connecting both worlds through her writing.
“The film is basically about fighting for survival. It’s about fighting for what you love and it’s about how far would you go for your kids to provide for them,” said Sherwood.
Shot entirely in black and white, the film follows these characters through the fictional town of Coppercliff, but in essence the film takes place in Niagara. Shots take place in downtown St. Catharines, Clifton Hill and the fight scenes were shot at Nappers in Welland. “We didn’t try to hide the fact that we are in Niagara,” explained Lupish.
As for the choice to film in black and white: “I think it will really force the audience to focus on the story and the acting as opposed to the beautiful cinematography,” said Lupish. “It’s a beautiful looking film, I’m not afraid to say that, but at the same time it’s not distracting.”
The film was produced by Jarico – Films for Youth, Lupish and Sherwood’s production company. The two, along with Melody Sargent, go into schools and educate youth on how to make movies. Their mandate is to create jobs for youth who may face barriers to employment within the film industry. Jarico was able to give three students positions on the production of Fight!.
“We want to show kids that there are other opportunities out there that they may not think are possible. Around here there are kids that don’t think it’s possible to become a filmmaker and we want to create an environment where that’s possible,” explained Lupish.
Fight! will be premiered at a Red Carpet Gala on June 22 at the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre. Tickets are $45 for the film screening, and for $250 guests can enjoy a dinner created by Erik Peacock (Wellington Court) at the Market Square, attend the film screening, enjoy an exclusive after-party in Robertson Theatre, and take home a gift bag full of swag.
“It may see expensive, but we want people to realize that it’s a fundraiser. We want to create two internship opportunities for youth in need,” said Lupish.
“There’s a problem here and we want to find a solution for it. You don’t need to go to Toronto to work in the film industry. There’s a massive arts culture here in Niagara. So, hopefully we can train people and then they could go out and work with all the agencies that we have here in Niagara.”
More info can be found at jaricofilms.com