Monday, January 19, 2015

'Amazing' boxing documentary screened at Sandusky State Theatre

SANDUSKY, Ohio — Brad Bores learned the art of patience while filming “When The Bell Rings.”

As much as the Bellevue resident wanted to control what happened, the filmmaker learned that wasn’t possible. His three-year project earned the prestigious Jury Award for Best Documentary Feature Film at the New Orleans Film Festival.

“That’s what I love about doing documentaries. … It’s the most interesting way of filming,” Bores said, referring to the lack of control.

The audience at the Sandusky State Theatre clapped loudly and enthusiastically once the credits started rolling Saturday.

If someone had told Bores he eventually would have one of his films screened at the theater, he said he would have thought the person was crazy.

“It’s great to have so many people (who) supported me,” he told the audience.

“When The Bell Rings” covers the journey of Dino “The Lethal Warrior” Wells, a 40-year-old former boxer who returns to the ring after 15 years away.

But the documentary isn’t just about boxing; Wells learns to reconnect with and be a father to his youngest son, who was 9 years old when filming started in April 2011.

“This was an amazing, amazing piece; it really was,” said David Taylor, executive director for the theater.

Taylor, while starting a question-and-answer session with Bores, said the documentary is about more than boxing, it was about men and their relationships with their children.

“It really made me think about my relationship with my father,” Taylor said.

Besides his age and getting back into boxing shape, Wells faces several challenges. His would-be promoters back out and the Louisiana Boxing Commission initially rejects Wells because he can’t afford a battery of required, but expensive, health exams.

Bores was asked how difficult it was to not interfere as Wells experienced several difficulties.

NORWALK REFLECTOR reporter Cary Ashby (left) holds
a program for "When The Bell Rings." He is standing with
filmmaker Brad Bores, a Monroeville (Ohio) High School graduate.
“Every time he had a setback, I thought in the back of my mind … ‘This will be good for the film,’” Bores said, which prompted some chuckles from the crowd. “I had to make the (distinction) between filmmaker and friend.”

While Bores said he would let the camera roll, he would empathize later with Wells about his hardships over dinner.

“It’s not about winning or losing; he just had to go out and get this fight,” Bores said.

From 2006 to 2010, Bores lived in Los Angeles, working on a variety of projects such as infomercials and reality television shows. He said this was a time in his life when he wasn’t happy with where his professional life was going. Then he met Wells, a boxer and Olympic hopeful in the 1990s, who was volunteering on a movie set.

“He opened up and told me his life story,” Bores said.

Filmmaker Brad Bores, of Bellevue, Ohio,
answers questions at the Sandusky State Theatre.
When Bores learned Wells was heading to New Orleans to start training and get to know his estranged son, Bores told him he wanted to film the experience. Wells called his new friend about when his training would start and three years later, the result was “When The Bell Rings,” which had its world premiere at the New Orleans Film Festival in October.

“I’m always going to question it,” Bores said about watching his film on repeated viewings.

The 2000 Monroeville High School graduate said he always wonders if audiences will think it’s OK — or if they will walk out of the theater.

“(I) can never watch it with a fresh taste,” he added.

Bores addressed the climax of the documentary, which features the controversial ending to Wells’ long-awaited professional fight.

“I was really proud of him that night. I was really irritated (about the results),” Bores said. “The way he reacted … it showed a lot about his character.”

EDITOR'S NOTE: As a reporter with the NORWALK REFLECTOR newspaper, I interviewed filmmaker Brad Bores shortly after filming for "When The Bell Rings" started (April 2011). That initial story was published about late July or early August 2011. The REFLECTOR's "sister paper," the SANDUSKY REGISTER, ran a story about the documentary previewing the State Theatre screening Jan. 16, the day before the event.

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