Showtime Networks Acquires MMA Documentary “Fightville”

May 3, 2011

Pepper & Bones announced today that Showtime Networks Inc. has acquired their latest documentary, FIGHTVILLE, for U.S. exhibition.

The premium network closed a deal on the film, directed by Petra Epperlein and Michael Tucker, shortly after its rousing world premiere at the South by Southwest Film Festival in Austin, TX last month.

“We are thrilled to have SHOWTIME as our partner for FIGHTVILLE,” says co-director Petra Epperlein.  “Mixed Martial Arts is the fastest growing sport in the world and SHOWTIME is a major force in combat sports and truly represents the best in original programming,” adds Epperlein.

FIGHTVILLE chronicles the story of a minor league Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) promotion run by Gil “The Thrill” Guillory in Lafayette, Louisiana–a place where, for many, fighting is as much ritual as it is sport. In FIGHTVILLE, life is a contest, and the area around Lafayette, which includes a neighborhood that is the namesake of the film, has no shortage of up-and-coming fighters willing to fight their way out of the dusty rodeo arenas of Louisiana to the big lights of Las Vegas. Many of them train with veteran UFC fighter “Crazy” Tim Credeur at his Gladiators Academy, where he seeks to “build better men,” while developing champion fighters.

One of those fighters, Dustin “The Diamond” Poirier, quickly became the focus of the film after a series of dramatic victories.  His story forms the backbone of the film.   “The first time we saw Dustin fight, we were immediately taken with him,” states co-director Michael Tucker.  “You could tell that the kid was going places.”  “More than just fighting, FIGHTVILLE is about what it takes to be the best at anything,” adds Tucker. “We hope that FIGHTVILLE will introduce a wider audience to the beauty and passion of MMA while elevating the mainstream perception of the sport.”

Submarine Entertainment’s Josh Braun negotiated the deal with Showtime Networks Inc., and a US theatrical and DVD distribution deal is planned as well.  FIGHTVILLE had its international premiere on April 28th at Hot Docs film festival in Toronto, Canada on the eve of UFC 129, the biggest fight in UFC history.


Payout Perspective:

Fightville debuted in Canada on April 28th at the Hot Docs film festival in Toronto, during the Mixed Martial Arts weekend that also featured a Fan Expo and UFC 129 on Saturday night, which broke all previous UFC live event records such as attendance, gate, and bonuses given out. This weekend was a great platform for Fightville to not only showcase its highly acclaimed work,  but to also announce their deal with Showtime only days after the huge UFC 129 event took place.

It’s always a positive for the sport to see a big network acquire more MMA content.  In this case, Showtime adds to its already vast MMA content it offers to their subscriber base with Strikeforce MMA and recently the M-1 Challenge.  Whether Strikeforce sticks around on Showtime after their current deal is up remains to be seen after Zuffa purchased the promotion, but it is clear to see the value the network sees in MMA content.

Video trailer for Silva documentary “Like Water”

April 17, 2011

“Like Water,” a documentary based on Anderson Silva opens up this week at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York. It is a behind the scenes look at Silva before his fight with Chael Sonnen last August.

Here’s the official trailer (H/t Cagewriter):

Payout Perspective:

It was filmmaker Pablo Croce’s first exposure into MMA and from the initial two minutes he appears to get an all-around view of Silva. Cagewriter poses the question whether Silva is misunderstood or has he mismanaged his brand. Much of this has to do with Silva’s antics in the ring and his interviews outside of it. We shall see how Silva approaches the media leading up to his showdown with Yushin Okami in Rio. A recent Inside MMA interview had Silva speaking without the help of Ed Soares. We shall see if Silva will be more receptive to the media, especially since it will be in his home country.

Anderson Silva documentary debuts at Tribeca Film Festival

March 15, 2011

A behind-the-scenes documentary featuring UFC star Anderson Silva will debut at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York next month. The documentary gives viewers intimate access to The Spider in training for his fight against Chael Sonnen last year.

Via Tribeca Film Festiva’s press release:

The Tribeca/ESPN Sports Film Festival has become the premier showcase for independent films about sports and competition.  In addition to giving sports fans and movie-lovers the opportunity to be among the first to see new sports-themed films, the Tribeca/ESPN Sports Film Festival hosts a gala premiere, conversations and a family Sports Day where fans can enjoy free, interactive, sports-related games and activities and meet some of New York’s most popular athletes.

This year’s Tribeca/ESPN Sports Film Festival is comprised of six documentary feature films that run the gamut of sports, telling the stories of a foul ball that may have altered MLB history, a team that changed the face of cricket, an Indian boy who was born to run, a tennis pro whose transformation startled the world and one fighter’s humble quest for his 12th UFC middleweight championship.

The Tribeca/ESPN Sports Film Festival runs during the Tribeca Film Festival (April 20-May 1) in lower Manhattan.

The synopsis from the Tribeca Film Festival guide is here.

Payout Perspective:

Its nice to see that we are beginning to see more films about mixed martial arts. I am a big fan of sports-type documentaries and hopefully this one will give some good behind-the-scenes insight on him. Last month, we wrote about Fightville, and in April we will see the debut of Silva’s documentary. From what I’ve read, it looks to be Silva’s preparation in lead-up to the fight with Sonnen. It was probably an interesting time coming off the Demian Maia fight.