2007-07-20 / Sports

Local Filmmaker Delivers Knockout On Television

By Elio Velez

The former inhabitants of the Irish Ropes Boxing Gym gathered to view director Robert Sarnoff's documentary film at the House On The Rock Church. Photo by Pastor Gary Patrylo of the House On The Rock Church. The former inhabitants of the Irish Ropes Boxing Gym gathered to view director Robert Sarnoff's documentary film at the House On The Rock Church. Photo by Pastor Gary Patrylo of the House On The Rock Church. In 2006, Robert Sarnoff, an award winning filmmaker and current editorial cartoonist for The Wave, initiated his quest to feature the Irish Ropes Boxing Gym in Arverne for his next documentary film.

The film featured Derry County, Ireland-born middleweight championship contender John Duddy, promoter Eddie McLoughlin's quest to build and promote the gymnasium and ten amateur boxers' dreams to become Daily News Golden Gloves champions. The final product was titled "Irish Ropes" and after being showcased in various film festivals, Sarnoff found out that the next showing of his Rockaway location based documentary will be on a national stage.

The Madison Square Garden network will showcase Sarnoff's work in a half-hour special that will air this Saturday night at 7:30 p.m. "Irish Ropes" can be seen on MSG (Time Warner Cable channel 28, Direct TV channel 621 and Dish Network channel 412).

The show will feature rising boxing contender John Duddy, whose popularity in the boxing community has risen with three sold-out boxing events at Madison Square Garden.

It is apropos that Sarnoff's film will be shown prior to an encore presentation of John Duddy's victory over Anthony Bonsante on St. Patrick's Day at MSG.

Originally, Sarnoff had no intention of making this film for television. He just wanted to make a documentary that would show boxing and non-boxing fans to what drives the various boxers in the film to compete.

The film slowly gained critical acclaim through private viewings and at film festivals.

The director, writer and producer, along with cinematographer Dino Tutino edited the film to be showcased at the Del Ray Beach and Queens International Film Festivals. The buzz began there and Sarnoff was asked to show the film at an event called "Ring 8", which gathered former and current fighters together.

Continued praise via print and word of mouth led to Sarnoff getting a call from network executives at MSG, who was interested to show the film.

"It's a big thrill. It's very fulfilling to know you put something together with your heart, soul and artistic intention and that people believe this film is deemed worth of mass consumption," Sarnoff said.

"I didn't do it to place it on TV. But if it's a way for the masses to screen it, it's terrific and a bigger audience than I intended the (documentary) to be seen."

Sarnoff intended to showcase the boxing denizens of the former warehouse that inhabited the boxy looking structure on Beach 72 Street.

"I wanted people who weren't boxing fans to say that they gained access to a world that they didn't know existed," said Sarnoff.

Filming completed when the gym, which was owned and operated by Irish Ropes founder Eddie McLoughlin, closed down in September of 2006.

Sarnoff hopes that anyone watching the documentary will on MSG this Saturday will enjoy the film.

"People will see that Eddie and John are doing nice things beyond boxing and you'll see it in the film," Sarnoff said."

"If they find it compelling, then I've known that I've done my job."

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