Filmed over the course of two years, Country Brawlers is a raw and intimate look into an eclectic cast of characters that make up rural boxing in Central Appalachia – a region struggling with poverty, addiction, and hopelessness – and how the sport of boxing can be a vehicle for change, purpose, and redemption. At the center of Country Brawlers is the bombastic and charismatic trainer Corky Salyer, who is hoping to regain past glory by pushing the boxers he trains further than they themselves believe they can go. Many of the fighters he trains are recovering from drug addiction, including roofer Melvin “The Romantic Redneck” Russell, who struggled with cocaine, pain pills and heroin for many years before turning his life around with boxing. Fellow Appalachian boxer, Travis Hanshaw, himself a 4th generation boxer, works at the local jail, builds his record at home, and hopes for a big payday. Brawlers follows these men through two years of ups and downs, all at climactic moments of their career, all vying to be remembered. Mixing high-powered, stylized action with a strong blend of raw, observational moments, Country Brawlers reveals a world that is not often seen in mainstream media: the unique fervor of rural sports. With a chance to become local legends, these brawlers take punches, push forward, and fight in the name of honor and the opportunity to provide a better future for their families.
Director: Curren Sheldon