Beauty of the Fight
Beauty of the Fight is John’s first documentary and photography book. The documentary Beauty of the Fight explores, with both intimate and exhilarating imagery, the effects of historic realities on two Panama barrios. Barraza and El Chorrillo suffered heavy losses when US forces invaded in 1989 in order to capture General Manuel Noriega. With deft footage—and under military police protection while entering Barraza’s dangerous “red zone”—filmmaker John Urbano captures in Beauty of the Fight not only the daily struggle but also the dignity, joy, and heightened awareness of its residents, even as this “interim” shantytown nears extinction due to recent outside private and commercial development. Boxers, cock fighters, gang bangers, street urchins, small business owners, family members, community leaders, and visionaries detail the day to day plight to hold on to homes and endure the loss of loved ones due to street conflicts while they also express the inevitable hopes of all peoples who fall victim to unconscious political and economic forces. The film also explores the vagaries of documenting a place and people.
John’s documentary Beauty of the Fight has been accepted into twenty-nine film festivals around the world screening in nine different countries. Beauty of the Fight has been awarded best documentary at the Athens International Film + Video Festival and Best Cinematography at the Docufest Atlanta.
On January 18th, 2010 John Urbano brought his documentary Beauty of the Fight back home to Panama. It was presented at the National theatre in Casco Viejo, raising over $17,000 for the Movimiento Nueva Generacion. The funds will be used in the building and finishing of a community center for the children of Barraza and El Chorrillo. The community center is a safe place where children can eat a meal for free, take dance lessons, study graphic design, use the library and Internet, and watch movies.
On September 8th, 2009 the President of Panama, Ricardo Martinelli B., wrote John Urbano a letter thanking him for the documentary that he had made in Panama. President Ricardo promised to make Barraza and El Chorrillo a safer place putting it first on his priority list.