TAPIA chronicles the personal and professional life of the boxer, beginning with his poor childhood in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The film explores the glory of his punishing ring prowess and five world titles in three weight classes, forever mired by personal demons: his mother’s brutal kidnapping and murder when he was 8 years old, and his drug addiction, mental illness and near death experiences. Using first person narration from Tapia himself, archival footage, and personal photos, director Eddie Alcazar paints an intimate picture of the fighter and the man.
TAPIA follows the champ’s winding road through victories, downfalls and redemption. Director Alcazar spent many hours with Tapia filming the biopic, just weeks before the fighter’s tragic death at age 45. Tapia’s last interviews now serve as the heartbeat of Alcazar’s revealing documentary. In it, the soft-spoken champ opens up about his ‘vida loca’ and the unending pain of his mother’s murder, which led to glory in the ring and struggle throughout his life.
Jackson, who has served as a producer and acted in a number of films including Righteous Kill, Twelve and Things Fall Apart states: “I was drawn to the intensity of this project. His story resonated with me because like Tapia, I too lost my mother to violence and grew up with limited means. It’s a heartfelt story and it was important for me to get involved with bringing this to a broader audience.”
“I’m thrilled to join 50 in acquiring this riveting documentary. This is not a boxing film, but a film about tragedy, triumph, demons and redemption,” said sports promoter and entertainment entrepreneur DiBella, who has produced films such as Viva Baseball!, Love Ranch and was associate producer of The Fighter. “Johnny gives us an honest assessment of his strengths and frailties; he reminds us of the power and resiliency of the human spirit.”
The unique style in which the film was structured and directed distinguishes it from most documentaries. Including the use of landscape cinematography covering the majestic Albuquerque terrain, shots of Tapia’s own son feverishly running across a field at dusk, and dramatic use of light and music during the interviews with Tapia.
“Every day Johnny and I spent together, he was so excited to be telling his story and helping others.” said Alcazar. “Just as quickly as he entered my life, a year later he was gone. He lived his life fast and with a sense of urgency, yet I always had a feeling that he would outlive us all. Filming the last interviews of his life was a special gift and I feel very fortunate to have 50 Cent and Lou DiBella share the same vision in bringing Johnny’s life to the bright screen.”
The film features Tapia in his own words and exclusive interviews with Mike Tyson, trainer Freddie Roach and Tapia’s wife Teresa.
TAPIA is set to world premiere as part of the Documentary Competition at the 2013 Los Angeles Film Festival on June 15 at Regal Cinema L.A. LIVE 12. The Festival, presented by the nonprofit arts organization Film Independent, takes place in downtown Los Angeles at L.A. LIVE. The June 15th screening is already sold-out. A second screening at the Festival will take place Wednesday, June 19 in Regal Cinema L.A. LIVE 14. Tickets are still available for the second screening. For more information visit www.lafilmfest.com and access documentary competition.
TAPIA, presented by G-Unit Film and Television and BK Blu Productions, is a Synthetic Creatures Production directed by Eddie Alcazar. The film is executive produced by Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson and Lou DiBella, along with producers Andrea Monier and Eddie Alcazar, in association with Eric Drath’s Live Star Entertainment.