Home to hipsters and fixed-gear bikes today, only 50 years ago Shoreditch inspired excitement of a very different kind. The years 1955-75 saw the heyday of East End boxing, and the heart of the sport was the iconic Shoreditch Town Hall. It took a special kind of boxing fan, Tom Burling, to bring together the Best of British champions from this time for a commemorative gala in the great venue.
Following the English Heritage’s recognition of the London Ex-Boxer’s Association’s (LEBA) significance to cultural history, the event took on even greater meaning. Under the auspices of the LEBA, Tom commissioned a one-of-a-kind film to record the event and the reminiscences of the ex-boxers, including Ronnie Cooper who fought at the last London Olympics in 1948. The gala produced a treasure trove of memories of fights won and lives enriched by their involvement in the sport, as well as standing testament to their undimmed vitality.
Our commission included a DVD with a menu including the short film, the entire four hour event, and interviews with attendees.
Our three-camera shoot included a RED, Panasonic HVX 201 and a Canon 7D: our RED camera was locked off to achieve maximum long-shot coverage; the 7D, along with boom operator, was used mostly on tripod to capture the action on stage, panning shots and interviews; and the Panasonic used for running gun reportage. The mix of cameras kept us on our toes in the edit matching up the workflows! But the results were worth it.
With an embarrassment of picture images from the Town Hall’s boxing heyday, we were lucky to be able to use a variety of stills to point up significant emotional memories in the piece. Pre-recorded interviews gave authentic personal insight into the event, and underscoring with ambient sound ensured continuity.
The DVD was authored in-house, the menu graphics taken from supplied and found images.
Although the client had originally only commissioned the locked off coverage, JUJU made a case for an internet-friendly short film version to sit alongside it. This film has been invaluable for continued efforts to raise funding and promote the work and remit of the London ex-Boxers Association, to represent the spirit of English Heritage support, and to subsequently pitch stories and characters to broadcasters.