Prizefighter tells the story of legendary heavyweight champion Jack Johnson, the first African American heavyweight boxer to win the title and hold the crown, from 1908-1915. It spans the period between 1910 to 1946, recreating his infamous ‘fight of the century’ with Jim Jefferies, the great white hope, to his untimely death following a blatant act of racial discrimination at a secluded roadside diner.
In between, it touches on the tumultuous relationship with his first wife, Etta Duryea, from 1909 to its end on September 11, 1912. It’s important to point out that Etta was white, signifying the brashness of Johnson’s character to blatantly defy such taboosand racist norms in early 20th century America.
Prizefighter is also an artistic and technical achievement in that in combines old school techniques of classic stop-motion animation with new school shooting methods and equipment. It’s shot entirely on iPhone 4s, 5s and 6s with the Stop Motion Studio app. As well as edited on the phones with a series of apps from iMovie to VideoLeap. My studio is quite literally in my pocket. So it’s also a lesson to other aspiring artists to use the tools at your disposal. You’d be amazed at what incredible things you can achieve.
Prizefighter is being shown at Diversity in Cannes this year.