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Newport Beach Spotlight: Director Jeffrey Doyle discusses The Coco Show
14 Sep 2023 : Luke Shanahan
The Coco Show
Jeffrey Doyle’s The Coco Show is having its North American Premiere at the Newport Beach Film Festival.

The Newport Beach Film Festival is taking place from October 12th to October 19th, 2023.

Jeffrey Doyle directed, shot, edited, and produced The Coco Show. The short film has premiered at the Galway Film Fleadh, and will screen at the IFI Documentary festival later this month. In October, the film will have its North American Premiere at the Newport Beach Film Festival in California.

The Coco Show follows Craig Coakley, a Muay Thai fighter from Dublin's inner city flats, who gets the chance to fight for a life-changing six-figure contract with the world's biggest sports company, ONE Championship.

We sat down with director Jeffrey Doyle to discuss his entry point into the world of MMA and Muay Thai fighters, his approach to filming fighting, and Doyle’s plans to continue following Coakley’s journey.

IFTN: Where did you first come across Craig Coakley’s story, and what motivated you to make a short film about him?

JEFFREY: “Two years ago, I started making fight promo videos to showcase the talent and passion of both MMA fighters and Muay Thai fighters in Ireland. That’s how I met Craig and his coach Collie Mahon. They welcomed me into their gym and their lives, and I was impressed by their dedication and professionalism. When Craig got the opportunity to compete in ‘The Road To One’,  that could lead him to a contract with The ONE Championship, the largest global sports media company in the world, I knew I had to follow his journey. It was a chance to tell a story of a fighter who had overcome many challenges and was ready to face the world’s best. It was also a chance to show the beauty and brutality of Muay Thai, a sport that deserves more recognition and respect.”

IFTN: You directed, shot, edited, and produced the film yourself. Was it a challenge to take on all of these roles?

JEFFREY: “Making this film was a passion project for me. I love filmmaking and I wanted to tell Craig’s story in the best way possible. I didn’t have a budget so I funded the film myself. I learned a lot from working closely with Craig and his family, who were very supportive and generous. They opened their hearts and shared their struggles and dreams with me. I made it for them, and I made it because I need creative projects to keep me sane and happy. I never expected it to get any attention or recognition.”

IFTN: How did you approach capturing Muay Thai fighting from a technical perspective? 

JEFFREY: “Muay Thai is an extreme sport that combines technical skill, physical strength, and mental toughness. It is also a very violent sport that can cause serious injuries. To capture the Muay Thai fighting, I used different techniques and equipment. I shot a lot of footage in slow motion. This allowed me to show the impact and the precision of each strike, kick, and elbow.  I wanted the audience to feel like they were in the ring with them. In addition, I was lucky to have the help of other videographers who were filming at the same events. They kindly shared their footage with me, which gave me more angles and options for my edits.”

IFTN: What do you hope the audience takes away from watching The Coco Show?

JEFFREY: “The Coco Show is a film that challenges the stereotypes and prejudices that the government and the media have created about the working class people of the North Inner city and other similar areas. They portray them as violent thugs, but they are actually the backbone of our society and culture.  I hope the audience can see that through Craig’s story. I hope they can appreciate his talent, his passion, and his courage. I hope they can learn from his struggles, his achievements, and his dreams. I hope they can connect with him and his family, and feel inspired by them.”

IFTN: The short film is set to have its North American premiere at the Newport Beach Film Festival in LA, what does it mean to you to see the Coco Show screen not only in Ireland but also abroad?

JEFFREY: “It’s an incredible honor to have The Coco Show screen at the Newport Beach Film Festival in LA. It’s one of the most prestigious and influential film festivals in North America, and I’m thrilled to be part of it. It’s a testament to the universal appeal and relevance of Craig’s story, and the power of Muay Thai as a sport and an art form. I’m very excited to attend the festival myself and see how the audience reacts to it.”

IFTN: Do you have any upcoming projects you can share with us?

JEFFREY: “The Coco Show is not over yet. I’m working on expanding it into a feature film that will follow Craig’s amazing journey as a Muay Thai fighter. He has just signed a contract with the ONE Championship. He will soon have his first fight with them, and I will be there to document it. I want to show the whole story of Craig Coakley, from the Liberty House Flats to the global stage.”

THE COCO SHOW TRAILER from Jeff Doyle on Vimeo.

The Coco Show screens in the IFI on September 30th, 2023.





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