Slamdance Film Festival
Director: Allan Luebke
In this rousing and inspirational documentary, first-time director Allan Luebke follows amateur MMA fighter Glena Avila as she works, fight by fight, towards reaching pro status. Had that have been all there was to the story, this certainly would have been just another sports documentary, but Luebke also explores Avila’s personal life and shows that there’s more to her than one might expect. Avila’s home is being foreclosed, and attaining pro status as a fighter might be the only way she can provide for her children, but the additional time required for training and fights is putting strains on her relationships with the kids and her boyfriend—not to mention her body. As she moves through an undefeated amateur career, Avila must decide if this will all be worth it in the end. Avila’s ability to share her insecurities and anxieties during filming—and her ability to drag her opponents to the ground and pound the fucking shit out of them—allow audiences to connect on a high level, and the editing of the documentary creates a wonderful tension—especially during the fight scenes. Luebke has provided an excellent, emotional documentary, and an informative look into the world of MMA fighting.