The Champ: Dallas Doc-Maker's Sweet Science Finally Steps Into the Ring

Sweet Science Trailer from chris howell on Vimeo.

Our (all too brief) Dallas International Film Festival sneak peek will appear in the paper version of Unfair Park this week, with follows to run on Unfair Park during the fest's run commencing Thursday night. But I ran into Dallas Film Society Chairman and fest co-founder Michael Cain Friday while at the fest's Uptown HQ, and he cautioned that screenings are filling up faster than expected, despite this being the first year in the last four without the AFI tie-in.

Among those already sold-out: the April 15 screening of local doc-maker Chris Howell's Sweet Science, a nearly decade-in-the-making film about the modest highs and tragic lows at the Oak Cliff Boxing Club, about which former Observer-er Paul Kix wrote in the summer of 2005. Howell, matter of fact, makes an appearance in our 5-year-old cover story -- at the time, he was editing Sweet Science. But Howell, keeping close tabs on amateurs with Olympic aspirations, would discover there was a significant chuck of tale left to be told as coach and former Dallas fireman Greg Hatley slowly, painfully became the boxing-world's Job. The film proves Howell a heavyweight doc-making contender -- it's a powerful, poignant piece of work scored by no less a jazz giant than Eric Mingus (yes, the son of Charles).

I'll make this point in the paper this week: Despite the "international" in the fest's title, the locally made films are my favorites -- Sweet Science chief among them. Tickets are still available to its premiere, one week from tonight, at the Angelika, where several of the film's key figures, among them Charles Hatley, will appear alongside Howell. But you'd best hustle.

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