Whenever I work on something I start with an outline. Themes, motifs, and film references give the picture feel, emotion, tone. While some of these elements never made it to the screen others were integral in guiding this story from the start. Here's the playbook from our first play. The first jab and feint.
While nuance and ridiculous attention to detail can help guide a story with feel and tone, with a documentary it is truly impossible to control every factor captured in-camera.
It's like a tree growing in a forest, you can contain it, but the roots spread with free will. Suffer For Good did just that, it was equally unpredictable writing, shooting, storyboarding, editing, and finishing the film as it was capturing the cinéma-vérité moments as they happened. Now that we have a tree, here's the seed that started it all off.
Here's the initial google doc of SFG created three days after my birthday on Sep 18, 2015
By teaching the sport he loves an aging boxing coach and diplomatic refugee rediscovers his dream to fight in the United States of America.
One word(s) to describe Suffer For Good:
Former Olympic boxer turned boxing coach. Lover of scones. Seb has a genuine smile and loves to laugh despite his troubled past. His father was imprisoned for opposing Haile Selassie in the 1970s when Seb was a boy. Seb’s father was put on death row, but just then, the emperor was overthrown by Mengistu Haile Mariam. His father was put back into prison after opposing the government in fifth grade. His mother died of cancer a year later. He was raised by the YMCA boxing team and his sisters.
YMCA is where Seb learned how to box. His passion is competition. He loves to challenge himself and get better. One of his favorite coaches from the Soviet Union taught him how to “Suffer For Good” and it's a lesson he still applies to his life today. In his opinion, he has suffered throughout his life, but because of his optimistic outlook on his life’s circumstances, he believes something positive will come of all the pain he has experienced.
In 1984 the Soviet Union boycotted the Olympics. Seb wasn't able to compete in the Olympics held in Los Angeles. In between 1984 and 1988, he was stabbed in a bar fight. That’s when his heart was severely damaged. For years he was unable to box because his heart was incredibly hurt. His aorta specifically. Maybe it's the mitral valve? His internal organs became infected and he was near death when Ethiopia finally decided to sign his Visa papers to have a procedure in the United States. He defected from Ethiopia after the procedure and became a U.S. citizen. He was lost. He lost his opportunity to box in the Olympics. What next? What will be Seb's legacy?
Seb is always smiling. Now we can all smile because Film Threat reviewed Suffer For Good today and it received a 9/10. Cheers to the fruits of our labor.
Seb Sebsebe “Fetan'' Zewdie is a respected boxing and MMA coach hailing from Addis Ababa Ethiopia. He made his name as a boxing coach in Los Angeles, Calif by training fighters like UFC Vet Dan Hardy, The Ultimate Fighter’s Mac Danzig, WEC veteran, and viral sportsman Chad George. Seb trained Olympic boxer Carlos David Arce, UFC Veteran Jared Papazian, Gabriel Ruediger, and Bellator MMA’s Jesse Merritt.
Zewdie served as the 2008 Olympic Trials Team Coach for Trinidad & Tobago. He was a 2008 Olympic Trials Coach and is a certified Boxing coach For AIBA and USA Boxing. A political refugee from Ethiopia, Zewdie immigrated to the US in 1987 in order to receive a life-saving heart operation after a chance encounter with Dr. Rick Hodes. Zewdie is the father of three young American boys and resided with his wife Lyou only a few miles from the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, site of the 1984 Olympic games until earlier this year when they moved the family to Nashville Tennessee.
Seb’s wife Lyou is a healthcare worker who has been working at Saint Thomas Hospital in Nashville TN during the pandemic. Seb has been helping patients with Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease in his local community by teaching them how to box.
Seb Zewdie attended Addis Ketma High School, Tegbred Technical School, and he is an El Camino College graduate.
Suffer For Good made the Top Documentaries list on iTunes.
Look ma, we're close in proximity to Judd Apatow and Pete Davidson's King of State Island.
Suffer For Good was on the Recently Added section of Apple TV/iTunes. We couldn't be here without our incredible team. It took an entire village to make this labor of love a reality.
Dr. Rick Hodes
Dr. Cynthia Thaik
Edmond J. Keller, PHD
Dr. Eric Yu
Anderson Broussard III
Director: Danny Simmons
Producers: Louis Benjamin Del Guercio, Danny Simmons, David Fisch
Editor: David Fisch
Co-Producer: Trevor Ward
Composer: Jared Forman
Alexander H. Davis
Louis Benjamin Del Guercio
Aerial Cinematographer - Michael Kretovics
On-set Photographer - David Fisch
Colorist - Alexander H. Davis
Sound Mixer - Greg Kuehn
Sound Editor - Aaron Class
Bionic Buzz® got to interview Danny Simmons (director) & Seb Zewdie (Olympic Boxing Coach) from the documentary SUFFER FOR GOOD.
LRM Online's Emmanuel Gomez has an in-depth conversation with director Danny Simmons about his first feature film, the documentary, Suffer for Good. They are also joined by the star of the film Seb Zewdie.
Suffer For Good is available on Google Play, BestBuy, Redbox, Vudu:
Vimeo OnDemand: https://vimeo.com/ondemand/sufferforgood
A moment of reflection at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum
Mi reseña de la película documental "Suffer For Good", dirigida por Danny Simmons, basado en la vida de Seb Zewdie, ya disponibles en las plataformas digitales.
Shot on Medium format film. Here's our hero image before we digitized it for iTunes.
Digital iTunes asset created from a photo captured on film after we put it through the garden of Adobe Photoshop. We added a more prominent color to the Olympic rings, Ethiopian colors to the one-sheet, aged the lettering, and texture and grit to the entire image.
A kind heart is more beautiful than appearance
'Suffer For Good' is a documentary that tells the story of Seb Zewdie, a boxing champion from Ethiopia. Filmmaker and director Danny Simmons interviews Seb, his family, and his trainees as they tell Seb's inspirational story. Now, they both join StudioJake!
Ronin shot in front of the LA Coliseum.
We have just launched Seb’s “Suffer For Good” Holiday Olympic Giveaway where we will be giving away $ to charity and to you! Here's how it works.
We are truly grateful for your continued love and buzz. Happy Holidays!
About Broken Dove Productions
Broken Dove, is a leading producer and distributor of sports documentaries, scripted comedy, and broadcast commercials. Founded in 2020, Broken Dove is in production on three other documentaries set to release in 2021. For more information, please visit www.brokendove.com
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-inspire engagement and craftsmanship
-focus on the process and help others along the way