Country Brawlers – FILM FEST KNOX | November 14-17, 2024 Skip to content
Presented by Visit Knoxville and Regal
Country Brawlers

Country Brawlers

Curren Sheldon · 2023 · 88 minutes
November 10 · Regal Riviera · 7:45 p.m.

Country Brawlers is a raw and intimate look into the lives of professional boxers in Appalachia and the coaches that give them a fighting chance in an unforgiving region.

Knoxville-based documentarian/cinematographer Curren Sheldon has, for the past decade, made work that tells the stories of working-class Appalachians, emphasizing the dignity and everyday ethics of lives that, statistically speaking, are more likely to be characterized by addiction, underemployment, and hopelessness.

In Country Brawlers, Curren has found three remarkable and compelling subjects: Corky Salyer, the larger-than-life owner of Fitness World in Raceland, KY, who pushes his boxers to excel in all areas of their lives; Melvin “The Romantic Redneck” Russell, a roofer in recovery who is desperate to lift his family out of poverty; and Travis Hanshaw, a fourth-generation boxer who works at the local prison (a driver of many local economies in Appalachia). Curren balances their stories with tense boxing scenes that make real the brutal toll brawling takes on their bodies.

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