Everyone knows boxing can be tough. Especially for people who don’t have the best of coordination. But that’s not exactly the case. Jonathan Jude found a way to follow Charles Wilton, a boxer with a big dream to be a strong fighter even with his condition. Despite having cerebral palsy, Charles doesn’t let a wheelchair prevent him from fighting as he intends to make it to the top. Jonathan has worked with many people in the past all with issues, so this is pretty much nothing new to him. He was able to answer some quick simple questions regarding his newest piece of work which proves that anyone can do anything.
How did you get to know Charles Wilton?
I met Charles through his boxing manger Sean Morris, who’s a real estate broker by day. The three of us would meet for coffee and chat but I could tell Charles didn’t always have an easy time expressing himself. Also, Sean had a hard time interrupting for Charles after a long session. It was shortly after the first couple meetings where Charles and I began chatting through Facebook almost everyday, Charles loves to chat online and share content. He would tag me in posts, share videos, and I’d use that an in to ask him more about his story.
How did the connection between you and Charles build up overtime?
It took a bit of time for the connection to really solidify. I was always transparent with my intentions to make a documentary on his journey and what story elements I wanted to include. As funding began coming together Charles began to trust me more. It was the trip to the Europe in 2018 were I felt I had the privilege of experiencing life in shoes. It was only Charles and I for a weekend and I had a first hand insight into his level of disability, which was quite a vulnerable experience for both of us. We bonded over the experience and truly became friends after that.
What went into the pre-production process?
The pre-production was one of the most stressful aspects. We had trips, shoots, and events cancel on us within days. We were constantly changing direction and had to push back our shoot over a year. It was an emotional roller coaster for me as I had to realize that the story of Charles getting a fight could not happen. Luckily, our Executive Producer at CBC was very compassionate and understanding of the nature of the story and complexity of the sport. They encouraged us and made me feel supported with my decision to not end the story too early.
What was it like capturing Charle’s Journey of being a fighter?
Capturing Charle’s journey of being a fighter was a privilege. Having first hand experience into his everyday living, past trauma, and struggles he had to undergo to achieve his goal, which something I feel honored to share. I was able to get an authentic look at who Charles is and why he is doing what he’s doing. I had a lot of trust in Charles to achieve his goal of getting his first boxing match and I knew that he wouldn’t give up, even after numerous set backs.
What were some of the minor issues you ran into during production?
Charles has a pretty severe speech impediment and it’s not always easy to understand the way he truly wants. Learning to communicate and listen to Charles was challenging and took some time of actively paying attention and be patient. Charles is also very patient with everyone he speaks with, he assumes that you won’t understand everything he says and always takes the extra time to re-communicate himself with a sarcastic smile on his face.
Do you feel this will spread a strong powerful message? If so, what will it say?
I hope this film does spread a powerful message with anyone that has put their goals on hold. I think it’s natural to take a ‘break’ from something you’re pursuing but I hope those that watch this film feel a slight spark to get back at it. Charles has had many obstacles and set backs trying to achieve his goals, he’s had to pause the pursuit of boxing to re-evaluate his priorities and then figure out a way to back into it. You can too.