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Monday, December 2, 2013

Chess Boxing Movie 'The King's Discipline' Update from Director David Bitoon

Chess Blog for Daily Chess News and Trivia (c) Alexandra Kosteniuk, 2013

Hello everyone,

We have here a nice update on chess boxing film-maker David Bitoon via the London Chess Boxing website. 
Bitoon writes: "October 31st, 2013 marked 3 years since I went on my first filming trip to Europe and this whole chessboxing documentary adventure began for me. (It also marked 3 years and two months since I got mugged on the street and had all of the camera equipment I needed for the shoot stolen from me, but that’s a story for another blog).

"Hitting that milestone is making me a little reflective, so thanks to London Chessboxing for giving me some space to get all nostalgic n’ stuff.

Caught on camera: Guerilla film-maker David Bitton in typical pose

"Going into that first shoot, I had made a conscious decision not to put myself in the film, which was a common trend in documentary made popular by Michael Moore and Morgan Spurlock. I felt this would be the wrong way to go for this film, not only because I had no interest in being in front of the camera, but also to help differentiate it from the many news reports that had been done on chessboxing, in which a smug reporter would come to a chessboxing event to make light of the “Crazy people doing silly things.”

Bitoon says, "Having been attracted to the idea of chessboxing myself, I felt a kinship with those “crazy people,” which is why as a filmmaker I was much more interested in getting to know them, in the hopes of understanding why they care about it so passionately. The best way to do that was to let them tell their own story, rather than be a presence in the film myself."

Bitoon, "The big risk with that kind of documentary is that being fully reliant on the subjects to tell the story it can take years to shoot, and at the end of it there’s no guarantee that there will even be an interesting story to tell. Just because I’ve decided to make a documentary doesn’t mean that anything significant would happen, but chessboxing fascinated me and I was preparing myself to be in this for the long haul."

"Little did I know, the chessboxing world was about to catch fire when I came along – as a director, all I had to do was to recognize the story that was forming and then be in the right place at the right time with cameras rolling to capture it. Being based in Canada, thousands of kilometers from the nearest chessboxing club didn’t make that job particularly easy, but three years later I’ve managed to document a story that has all the dramatic ups and downs of a scripted Hollywood film, told from the point of view of the people who care about this sport the most and who are fascinating characters in their own right."

"Or at least that’s what it will be once I’ve finished editing it. Right now it’s just a shapeless mass of footage – 256 hours worth at last count. Cutting that story together and bringing it down to 90 minutes will be no small task, but thanks to everyone who supported the Kickstarter campaign last July that raised over $35k for the project, I’m now able to finish up the last bits of shooting and get that editing work underway."

Bitoon says, 'Big thanks to everyone who helped me get this far, and to the chessboxing community and fans for being patient. I promise that in the end, it’ll be worth the wait."

Time to get to work, signs of David

To keep up with the progress of Chessboxing: The King’s Discipline, you can follow David on Twitter @PineappleProds, Like the project’s Facebook page: or sign up for the newsletter on his website:

Read also:
Chess Boxing in Russia and India report

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