TAKING THE FLIGHT, 75min., USSA
Directed by Carlos Arrieta
Discover the incredible journey of Stuart Warren Dansby, a 56-year-old who enters the kickboxing ring for the first time to battle against a 26-year-old opponent. Follow his gripping seven-year journey as he faces life-changing injuries and battles men decades younger than him in his quest for a championship.
Get to know producer Stuart Warren Dansby:
1. What motivated you to make this film?
When I first started my fighting journey people were coming up to me and telling me that I was inspiring them. That me fighting at 56 against an opponent 30 years younger was a big deal. After my first fight people that I didn’t know were coming up to me out of the stands and holding me…telling me crazy things about how this was motivating them to achieve. I simply realized that god blessed me with a journey and an incredible army of support that I shouldn’t have and I was accomplishing things I shouldn’t be able to. I had a relationship with my partner Carlos Arrieta and his company Roar Post. I knew that I had to pay this journey forward and share this message with as many people as possible. So I went and met with Carlos and we both shared a vision from then on.
2. From the idea to the finished product, how long did it take for you to make this film?
7 years. The story was supposed to end after the opening fight you see in the film. But this wasn’t a funded project and we had challenges. Truly though the story wasn’t told. When I decided to fight again at 62 we weren’t thinking about making it part of the doc. The promotion actually assumed that we were. So the universe conspired to tell the complete story and the challenges to get licensed created its own story line. It all fell into place. But we had to go through 3-4 different editors, hours and hours of filming and come together as a team for us to all understand how to tell the story. It all worked out in time.
3. How would you describe your film in two words!?
4. What was the biggest obstacle you faced in completing this film?
It was two fold. One was financial. Two was this needed to be a full length documentary. We didn’t want it to be a fighting story and we didn’t want it to be all training. So the story line took time to develop as much as life takes time to unfold.
5. What were your initial reactions when watching the audience talking about your film in the feedback video?
When I watched the audience feedback with my wife we literally cried. Yeah…fighters cry. The reason was that they (the audience ), got it. They understood the message. The message is what we set out to delivery and use fighting as the metaphor and my journey as the conduit to deliver the message. And these were people that aren’t fighters or care about fighting necessarily That’s the audience we wanted to reach and for them to understand that every person can find a way to achieve their dreams and goals regardless of obstacles. We’re just showing the path. So the feed back was positively overwhelming.
6. When did you realize that you wanted to make films?
During my training camp for my first fight.
7. What film have you seen the most in your life?
I don’t think I’ve watched any one film more than twice. But I’ve always been drawn to films that have a message. That teach us life lessons and have a realism to it/them. I hope I’m answering this questions correctly?
8. What other elements of the festival experience can we and other festivals implement to satisfy you and help you further your filmmaking career?
I think the format is highly inclusive and allows for a complete experience as well as marketing opportunities to continue to promote it. For us the only other factors are IMDB qualitied events as we’re trying to build the following to get it to a national/international platform
9. You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway. How has your experiences been working on the festival platform site?
The site is amazing. It’s become the life blood of our ability to garner support and win awards. It’s super user friendly and the dashboard is high value.
10. What is your favorite meal?
A great bottle of wine & a grass fed ribeye steak
After my last fight I got home at 1:30 AM. Everything was closed in my neighborhood. But was I was starving and I already bought a $100 bottle of wine. To make a long story short I sat in my living room taking in the memories of the win, drinking a great bottle of Cabernet and eating McDonalds. #onlythingopen
11. What is next for you? A new film?
We (my partner Carlos Arrieta and Roar Post), are looking to do a docu series that follows the same theme of Taking the Fight. Meaning there are other people in this world overcoming bigger challenges and achieving their dreams while doing something good. We want to tell their stories.