World boxing champion Josh Taylor backs new Edinburgh film described as 'Trainspotting meets Rocky'
In Her Corner, based on the 2019 hit Fringe play of the same name, tells the story of Claire, a teenage girl from Pilton who turns to her local boxing gym to escape a life of violent crime. Written by Mikey Burnett, the short will be directed by Emma Ramsay and produced by Reece Cargan of Bombito Productions and Laura McBride of Edinburgh-based Lothian Films.
The spur to take the piece from stage to screen was the visceral nature of the original play, says co-producer Reece Cargan, "When I read Mikey’s play I was struck by the visceral yet authentic tone of his dialogue and the pace of the story which seemed to beautifully match the ensemble cast of characters. It is set in a world that is rarely seen on screen and these are the reasons I wanted to open up the story and shift to screen to allow Mikey’s work to be seen by a different audience."
Claire's story is one of a desperation to escape a destitute life. Living with her sister who is involved with a drug gang, Claire is given an out by coach Billy at the gym, but after she gets into a street-fight with local hard-woman Ketch, she must decide where her loyalties truly lie.
Co-producer Laura McBride adds, "With many theatres not being able to offer live shows due to Covid, reimaging the piece as a short film makes it more accessible to the groups of young women we’re looking to target - those who could benefit the most from taking that first step through their local gym."
When fundraising for the project got underway, Cargan and McBride were delighted when Josh Taylor agreed to lend his support, taking to Twitter to tweet: 'Brilliant film being made in Edinburgh to help and encourage women and young women to get into boxing. I'll be chucking in some signed items for funders in the competition too. Help this amazing project if you can folks. @In_Her_Corner'
The boxer has donated two signed tour t shirts, which are available to buy, and a pair of signed boxing gloves, which will be raffled at £10 a ticket.
"It’s really great that a boxer of Josh’s calibre is supporting our project. We know he is proud of his roots and contacted him as the project is very Edinburgh focused. He had heard of Mikey’s script but hadn’t seen it and he was really keen to help get younger women into the sport," says Cargan.
For playwright Burnett, the journey from stage to screen has left him "unbelievably excited". "As a working class playwright I write working class stories, about working class characters and sadly theatre is not as inviting as it should be for people from my background, my target audience, and so ultimately, I believe that the screen is where I am most likely to find them.
"I'm a lifelong boxing fan and have always believed that it is sport that inspires hope in young people to seek a better life for themselves. Not to mention all of the great health benefits joining a local gym can bring. I feel the story of Claire is a very important one to which many such vulnerable young people throughout Scotland will be able to relate."
The crowdfunding for the film has now been extended until 17 September to give as many people as possible the chance to acquire one of the items signed by Taylor.
"Our crowdfunding campaign is going well, we are almost at target but every little helps. We also have a selection of perks people can get involved with," says McBride, whose remit is to champion female writer/directors and those from under-represented backgrounds. Those perks include becoming a producer and being an extra in the film.
"Backers get a credit on the film and get to help local filmmakers share local stories onscreen. Plus we really want members of the boxing community to get involved and help encourage more younger women into the sport," she adds..
And in a bid to keep the authenticity of the original stage production, the producers have also launched a talent search to find local youngsters to star in the film. "We are hoping to work with Edinburgh organisations Strangetown Theatre and Screen Education Edinburgh to highlight upcoming local talent to appear in and also work on the film.
"We’re looking for authentic actors who are able to command a grasp of the North Edinburgh dialect," explains Cregan, adding, "The director Emma is keen to work with actors who may be starting out as well as those who may be considering acting for the first time. We will be holding auditions imminently. We have already met two inspirational young boxers, Darcie and Sophia, they are great examples of the type of young women who would benefit from this project. They are both only 12 years old but really committed to boxing as a sport."
In Her Corner is set to go into production at the start of 2021, Covid-permitting.
To bid for the Josh Taylor's boxing gloves or be part of the crowdfunder campaign visit https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/in-her-corner
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