Charles/Jonathan: Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Charles: I was born with Cerebral Palsy, I’m a single father, my son is 7 years old. I’m a Wheelchair Boxer.
Jonathan: I’m a Toronto based filmmaker focusing on directing and producing documentaries about human stories.
Jonathan: How did you get into filmmaking?
I started out in the music industry producing music videos for my friends and their bands or projects. I quickly realized how much I love the freedom of creativity filmmaking allows me. I was able to express myself in a way I never knew was possible. I decided to go to film school and quickly began working in the industry after I graduated.
Jonathan: Tell us a little bit about the story of Charles and what led you to create the documentary, “Dream Boxer”.
Charles’ story is really compelling and his backstory is quite tragic. When I first met him I didn’t know how to react when he told me about his abusive childhood because he was so positive and transparent. Charles’ mindset was the major thing that led me to create the documentary. I truly wanted to go deeper with the film and have an authentic human story to come out.
Jonathan/Charles: What do you hope audiences take away from “Dream Boxer”?
Charles: I hope the audience takes away that no matter what happens in life or your past, it’s never too late to dream about what you want in life and go after it full force.
Jonathan: I hope people feel inspired to pursue the goal that they’ve put on hold. I want people to get back in the ring and start fighting for something that matters to them, especially if it’s challenging or difficult.
Charles: Let everyone know what Cerebral Palsy is for those that don’t know so we can squash some of the misconceptions.
Charles: A condition marked by impaired muscle coordination (spastic paralysis) and/or other disabilities, typically caused by damage to the brain before or at birth. C.p. is NOT a mental condition, people who have C.p. don’t have any mental disabilities what so ever. People normally confuse Cerebral Palsy as a “mentally challenged” condition, it is not!
Charles: What has boxing meant to you?
Charles: Boxing means a life with meaning. I get up every day looking forward to going to the boxing gym. Boxing is more mental health support to myself, than actual athletic drive, as a person with mental health issues like PTSD.
Charles/Jonathan: How difficult has it been to fight for equality with boxing’s governing bodies?
Charles: It has been really difficult to get the general boxing governing body to really get behind the idea of people with disabilities to want to get into the sport of boxing, not only that, to actually do well in the sport and grow as combat athletes… along with the able-bodied combat athletes.
Charles: What was it like to finally be able to have your first match after years of training?
Charles: It was amazing! My first boxing match was an unofficial underground type of fight. It wasn’t backed by any boxing body because we’re two men with Cerebral Palsy sitting there locked in basically beating the hell out of each other for 3 rounds, it was one hell of a fight though!
Charles: What message would you like to convey to the audience?
Charles: I want the audience to never give up on any and every dream that they might have no matter how big it might seem.
Jonathan: How instrumental is the CBC Gem service and the CBC Short Docs brand to getting this documentary in front of as many eyes as possible?
CBC Gem is a great service for Canadian’s to access content that they may not ever see on other platforms. I found that CBC Short Docs department has one of the best Executive working in documentary film. Their team understands how complicated it is to film a doc and generally understanding when the story changes, which happened all the time with us.
Jonathan: What advice would you have for aspiring filmmakers?
I’d like to encourage aspiring filmmakers to make friends outside of the film industry. I see a lot of folks and also found myself only surrounded by industry people. It makes life easy but it really just becomes an echo chamber and can put you in a stagnate ideation process. Having a few circles where no one is a filmmaker is important for your perspective and there are some really great opportunities there.
Jonathan: What’s your life like outside of film?
Jonathan: I’m an athlete and love sports. I also love to cook and use it as self-care. I’m currently training for my first triathlon and I constantly use Charles’ quotes to get me through the runner’s wall or encourage me to hit the gym when I’m feeling lazy, which happens more often than I thought it would.
Jonathan/Charles: Let the readers know where to find you online.