Blair Macdonald & Oliver Clark, collectively known as Novemba, present the powerful story of Jason Rock; a man who after taking many wrong turns in his early years found a positive foundation through boxing on which to make a fresh start in life and help others avoid the pitfalls he was unable to. Novemba’s research for the documentary was prompted by an open brief from Reebok, run through Mofilm, in which filmmakers were called to develop stories of individuals who were inspiring others through creativity or activity. We asked Novemba to tell us how that initial idea grew into an affecting film and deep friendship.
We decided to focus our search around boxing or kick-boxing and Mofilm gave us a small production grant of around £1000 towards the cost of making the film. We begun calling clubs and organisations, looking for boxers that had used the sport as a way of overcoming difficulties they had faced in life. When we came across Sam Hadfield and Caris Boxing Club, we knew we had found something special – a boxing club set up to help the young homeless in London.
We got in touch with Sam and he immediately suggested we meet Jason Rock. Over the coming days we hung out with Jason and he told us his story, right from the beginning. It was very emotional experience from the start. After hearing Jason’s story, we thought it may be too much for Reebok, or indeed any other brand, but felt it was an important one to be told. It was important for us that we didn’t hold anything back, our obligation lay with Jason, not Reebok, and we wanted to treat his story with the utmost honesty and integrity.
We filmed over a weekend using a Canon C300 and a set of Carl Zeiss CP2 lenses – a combination we often use for our documentary work for it’s relatively low rental cost and outstanding visual qualities. We had a small crew of around 6 and used a steadicam for one day. This was operated by Simon Wood, who has custom built a Segway that can carry the steadicam arm.
We’re mates with Jason now and catch up at least once a week. We’re also developing a spoken word piece with him at the moment, which is looking good.