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Breaking the MMA Lens: Amateurs

Amateurs.

That’s the working title of a new documentary being produced by filmmaker George Billard. It’s about the amateur MMA world. I talked to George about the project recently and he had some interesting things to say.

The documentary is a series of short portraits of some amateur MMA fighters. The film concentrates on these fighters. Their fights, trials, determination and everyday lives. Though their stories are interesting to begin with, George wanted to make something that is true to each fighter’s personality. True to each fighter’s essence.

What would inspire a film maker to follow the lives of these fighters for literally years? It’s a labor of love. George originally shot some MMA footage for a friend who was fighting at an NYFE MMA event. From there he got caught up in the atmosphere, the fighters and the people. He saw the fighter’s dedication and the positive influence MMA has on their lives. He felt this was a story that he could sink his teeth into.

After interviewing many fighters, George gravitated to the ones he thought were interesting and willing. This documentary is not just about MMA in the ring, but also about the lives of the people that make MMA what it is.

I’ve been at events where George and his crew have been shooting. They work extremely hard, shoot all aspects of their targets and get into the middle of the actions. George says that at the first few fights he and his crew had too much adrenaline going on. They were a little too excited (I know this feeling myself). As time went on they calmed down and begin to get more of what he was looking for.

Breaking the MMA Lens
Courtesy Joe LoBianco

It terms of style, George says, “It’s all about good cinematography.” There is dialogue but he wants to let the camera tell most of the story.

You’d think that shooting a documentary is easy. Just shoot some fights and personal stuff, edit, done. No, it ain’t like that. A documentary like this takes time. Following people’s lives takes time, a lot of time. In fact shooting won’t be finished until late 2016. They have been shooting this for over a year already, so that’s about three years of shooting. They’ve already shot more than fifteen events, many gym workouts, personal lives, homes, relatives and countless fights. Then there’s the editing. Going through all the footage for the right shots and then putting that together into cohesive film.

The final version will be about 90 minutes long. George is hoping to show it in theatres and then go on cable and streaming outlets.

How did George get into this line of work? He’s wanted to do this since he started making his own movies and animations when he was 12 years old. He found something he loved and just stuck with it. Now, along with documentaries, he does commercial and corporate work also. George’s base is upstate New York and his website is www.GeorgeBillard.com.

I’ll be following along and keeping track of George’s progress on Amateurs. I’m really looking forward to seeing the final product.

@Joe_LoBianco

www.joelobiancophotography.com

Joe LoBiancohttp://www.JoeLoBiancoPhotography.com
Joe LoBianco writes the photography column Breaking the MMA Lens for MMA Crossfire. New columns on the 1st and 15th of each month.

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