Interviews at UFC Gym in the South Loop

Episode 2 is well underway, and I spent this week chatting with a variety of boxers, trainers, and fitness enthusiasts at the UFC Gym in the South Loop.

Rachel, one of the managers at the gym, spoke to me about the gym’s culture and positive energy, and how it’s affected her life.  She also spoke about some of the trainers and members at the gym, including Paul Littleton, an undefeated Chicago pro, and Chris “Ice” Patterson, a former pro with an interesting fighting history.

I also spoke to several women who train there, including fitness enthusiasts who live and work in the South Loop, and an amateur female fighter who switched to boxing after being a member of the US National rugby team.

Finally, as I was leaving the other day I encountered IBF Light Middleweight champion Carlos Molina on his way in for a workout with Freddie Cuevas, another of the gym’s diverse array of trainers, and a former successful pro.  Stay tuned for more updates on the episode and stills of the interviewees.

Editing Episode 1: Harrison Park

After the brief holy smokes reaction of receiving a Chicago Filmmakers grant and a summer of preproduction, the Chicago Glove Project filmed its first episode at Harrison Park in Pilsen in late August.  Throughout September I’ve been slowly chipping away at the footage, editing it into something resembling a story, and contemplating as I shoot Episode 2 how to best craft a narrative when I have a gym full of engaging stories to tell.

While interviewing numerous people at Harrison Park to represent their surrounding neighborhood and how boxing fits into their community, I realized quickly how difficult it would be to represent a diversity of stories in one webisode.  As an example, and without revealing too much, here are a few of the subjects you’ll meet in the final Harrison Park edit:

Fermin, the coach and head of the Harrison Park boxing program, a young man and former successful amateur boxer himself who is highly invested in the kids he trains.

Deztinee, a 13 year old girl who just started boxing 10 months ago.  Our episode follows her through her second fight, a rematch against a girl who beat her earlier this year.

Xavier, a 12 year old boy with several fights and a lot of energy who competes in the Harrison Park fight night.

Raul, an 18 year old who has stopped fighting because of his college career, but still helps out with the program after boxing there helped him through a rough childhood.  He describes Fermin as a father figure.

Most of the kids and teenagers profiled live in Pilsen near Harrison Park, and a few common talking points came up when asked about their neighborhood—issues of gang activity and also the subject of changing demographics in a traditionally Mexican American neighborhood.  A love of boxing of course also featured heavily in our discussions.

Look for Episode 1 to drop soon, and check back for more info on Episode 2, where we’re taking a look at LA Boxing-turned-UFC Gym in the South Loop.

About This Blog

Bag Work in Harrison ParkWelcome!

This is the production blog for the Chicago Glove Project, which you can follow temporarily until our full site is developed.  This blog will have updates on the project, including behind the scenes production info and sneak-peek photos, as well as info about issues the project will touch on happening in Chicago communities.

Our first episode, at Harrison Park in Pilsen, has been shot and is in the editing process now.

Our second episode was shot at UFC Gym in the South Loop and is in postproduction.

Episode 3 is in production at Englewood’s Crushers Club.

Stay tuned for more info about the project….it’s certainly been an adventure so far!