EVERYTHING BUT FEAR
A short documentary about the life of boxing trainer Francisco Mendez, who immigrated from a small town in Mexico, achieved his American Dream of opening a boxing gym, but then faced his greatest challenge — COVID-19 during the height of the pandemic in New York City.
Bryan TwZ Brousseau – Director, Producer
Joe Neal – Writer
During the COVID-19 shutdown in New York City, I walked by Mendez Boxing and saw flowers and condolence notes mounded in front of the gym’s locked doors. I called Ricky Ray Taylor, a trainer at Mendez, and he confirmed that Francisco Mendez, the founder of Mendez Boxing Gym, had died of COVID-19. It was shocking news, as I had trained many times at Mendez and saw first-hand how the incredible sense of community there flowed from Francisco. After I got off the phone with Ricky Ray, I knew that I had to tell Francisco Mendez’s story.
Filmed during the height of the pandemic in New York City, my initial goal was to tell the story of Francisco Mendez as a boxing trainer within the New York City boxing community. But as I interviewed trainers, boxers, and family members, I soon found that his story was much larger. His whole life was defined by family, hard work, and the pursuit of the American Dream.
As a filmmaker, I am drawn to the narratives, personalities, and lives surrounding sports and community. I am truly honored that the Mendez Boxing family has trusted me to tell Francisco’s story.
Bryan TwZ Brousseau is an award-winning filmmaker based in New York City. He’s been a director, associate producer, and cinematographer for numerous documentaries that have won National Sports Emmy Awards, an Edward R. Murrow Award for Video Feature, and a New York Press Award. These pieces include Dream On: Stories of Boston’s Strongest, “The Courage Game,” a short documentary about 12-year-old, openly gay lacrosse player Braeden Lange, and “Tragic State: The Story of Magomed Abdusalamov.” His most recent projects include “The Return,” an award-winning short documentary about former Pittsburgh Steeler running back and Army veteran Rocky Bleier’s return to Vietnam, and the feature documentary When New York was One: The Yankees, The Mets & The 2000 Subway Series. He is currently a producer on The Last Call, a feature documentary about how COVID-19 has affected the hospitality industry in New York City.