Fight, Spirit, Pride pulls no punches

JOHN TAPLEY, QMI AGENCY

, Last Updated: 2:14 PM ET

Tragedy and triumph, passion and perseverance - Mark Hominick's story is really everyone's story, said Garianno Lorenzo, producer/director of a soon-to-be-released documentary film that takes viewers inside the mixed martial artist's life.

Fight, Spirit, Pride follows the Thamesford, Ont., resident's professional and personal experiences, including losing his father to cancer, the death of his best friend and mentor and the birth of his first child.

“If you have ever tried to do something, accomplish something, fight for something you believe in, with all your heart and then get knocked down; it’s a story about getting back up, time after time after time, no matter what it takes,” Lorenzo said. “You never give up your dream or your goal, you fight until your last breath. That is the definition of Mark Hominick.”

The film is the result of a life changing journey Lorenzo began in 2006, after becoming bored with a boxing match he was watching on television at his home in Red Bank, New Jersey. Surfing through the channels, he came across Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) 58 and watched Hominick – a featherweight fighter - defeat lightweight Yves Edwards. Then, in a post-fight interview with Fear Factor's Joe Rogan, Hominick choked back tears as he offered words of encouragement to his father in his fight against cancer.

“I was just blown away,” said Lorenzo who calls Hominick the real life karate kid. “I was moved to action, but I had no idea what I was getting into.”

The film industry veteran ended up packing up and moving to London, Ont., where he spent the next three years capturing Hominick's life on video.

“I literally shutdown my life for three years. I spent every single day with Mark, Shawn Tompkins and others,” said Lorenzo who carried 50 pounds of camera equipment and personally shot every frame of video.

Among the events he was able to document is Hominick's graduation from the University of Windsor, where he earned a degree in business and was among the top five students in his class. Lorenzo was at the funeral after Hominick's father lost his battle with cancer. He also attended the funeral and memorial service for Shawn Tompkins – Hominick's best friend and mentor who died suddenly of a heart attack at 37.

Lorenzo was there when Hominick lost the title he had successfully defended nine times and witnessed his work to make it to the top in the UFC.

Between three years of full-time camera work and another three years of intermittent recordings, he ended up with three terabytes of digital footage, which he is now cutting into the movie.

“It's one incredible story,” said Lorenzo during a telephone interview from Los Angeles where Fight, Spirit, Pride is in post production at Paramount Pictures. “This guy is going through some really personal stuff, but he's such a warrior and such a champion that he's able to keep everything together. He's such a strong guy, he really is.”

Through documenting Hominick's life, Lorenzo captured exclusive, behind the scenes moments as the UFC struggled to be considered a legitimate sport in the eyes of some and also struggled to become profitable.

“There are still people who think it's human cockfighting,” Lorenzo said. “Nothing could be further from the truth. They're athletes. I want these guys to be treated as athletes and get the same respect. I challenge anyone to watch the movie and not feel their passion.”

In the end, Hominick fights his way back, is married to the girl of his dreams, owns a successful business, purchases a home and becomes a father for the first time.

Besides Hominick, Fight, Spirit, Pride features fighters Sam Stout, Bas Rutten and Georges St. Pierre, as well as UFC president Dana White, Joe Rogan and actor/comedian Kevin James.

The film's soundtrack includes songs by the Killers, the Black Keys and Johnny Cash.

Lorenzo is close to striking a deal with Canadian actor and mixed martial arts fan Ryan Gosling to narrate the movie.

He plans to debut a cut of the film at the Cannes Film Festival in May.

“We're working every single day to meet that deadline,” said Lorenzo.

A theatrical release date has not yet been determined.

To date, Lorenzo has invested $500,000 of his own money in the project and expects to spend at least another $250,000 before it is finished.

There is an opportunity for the public to back the film. Lorenzo has opened the project up to funding on Kickstarter at: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/fightspiritpride/fight-spirit-pride where supporters can make pledges from $1 up to $10,000. Rewards are offered at various contribution levels. The goal is to reach at least $100,000 in pledges before June 15, 2012.

“It's really been a labour of love,” said Lorenzo about the movie. “I don't care if I don't make a penny off this. I just want to see it made because I believe in the story and this story needs to be told.”

A trailer for Fight, Spirit, Pride can be found on Facebook and YouTube.

 


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