Indie Feature Friday: “Touch Gloves” (2016, dir. Felipe Jorge)

Poster for TOUCH GLOVES - image source: Felipe Jorge / Haymaker Films

Poster for TOUCH GLOVES – image source: Felipe Jorge / Haymaker Films

“Touch Gloves” (2016), Felipe Jorge’s amateur-boxing documentary, tells a human story. It follows the fortunes of several boxing hopefuls as they train at Haverhill Downtown Boxing in Haverhill, MA (USA). It also captures the spirit of the adults who donate their time and energy to work with the young people who come to their club.

It’s not just about boxing. It’s about helping the community by building solid future citizens. It’s about providing focus, hope, and love (sometimes of the tough variety) to local youth and young adults who are struggling to overcome the obstacles that life has put in the way of their future success.

Jorge directed and edited this observational documentary with no budget. He had the help of Chris Esper, who shot some of the events that the film covers. But Jorge was behind the camera for most of the shoot. It is impressive how close he was able to come to his subjects without interrupting them or making the audience aware of his presence.

The doc also includes interview footage that puts into words what viewers see in the observational portions. Jorge’s editing emphasizes these themes without becoming strident or preachy. For example, he notes the club’s ongoing struggle just to continue to exist, but also highlights the toughness and persistence of its uncomplaining staff. In the end, the focus is on the young people and the huge benefits they gain. They learn to show up, listen to and respect their coaches, work out hard, and never give up.

The film will premiere at Haverhill High Auditorium on Sunday, June 26. Check out the Haymaker Films website for a trailer and more information about the premiere.