Directed by: Max Sainvil
Written by: Mike Ford
Starring: Guyviaud Joseph, Rushanna Lewis, Marc Reign
Synopsis: The Main Event is a short film that encapsulates how COVID-19 drastically changed lives through the story of a struggling fighter who receives the opportunity of a lifetime. Guyviaud Joseph, the actor and producer of The Main Event, was inspired to create this film after he spent six months training with a boxing coach in preparation for his independent feature film, which was set to begin principal photography, in January 2021. Although filming was delayed, Guyviaud continued to train and was inspired by his trainer, Joshua Rivera, to tell a story of the everyday struggles of people dealing with the fallout of COVID.
Watch the full film at Vimeo
The pandemic has affected us all, and filmmakers have been channeling the effects of the pandemic into their work. This includes Guyviaud Joseph’s short film The Main Event.
Also starring Joseph, the film has won the Diamond Award for Best Actor and has been tapped as an official selection of the Haitian International Film Festival. In just over 12 minutes, the film tells a heartfelt story about a boxer Dalton James (Joseph) who finally gets his big brak, only to have the circumstances surrounding COVID-19 take it away from him.
The short film tells a lot of story in a small amount of time, but its pacing and acting never feels rushed. The creeping pressure of COVID-19’s emergence is also smartly told as more news casts are featured covering what was then an unknown disease. As Dalton sees more and more people wear masks, he gradually begins to realize something larger is happening around him. But it isn’t until the film’s final scene that reality truly hits him.
The film’s sad ending is certainly realistic in terms of how COVID-19 has affected most, if not all Americans, including myself. While the ending is definitely relatable, I think the ending is also a Rorschach test for those who watch it. The film’s ending might make some people even sadder about how COVID-19 has changed everyone forever. But, for others, the ending might be a catharsis, a way to realize that there are others out there who are upset and struggling with life like a lot of us are.
In fact, that message of shared struggle might be the film’s most important takeaway. The illness, and the political and social messes that have come because of it, have hurt us all. With everything happening in America, including untold deaths from the virus, the rise in anti-Asian sentiment, last year’s awakening to police violence, the demands of unrelenting jobs regardless of the virus’ presence, losing jobs and other sources of money, people arguing over doing life-saving tasks such as wearing masks and getting vaccines, we are all carrying grief and trauma. Our grief might look different outwardly, but the emotion is still the same. We are tired, and we feel like our lives have stopped in their tracks. But we need to actually acknowledge this emotion, much like how Dalton does in the film. We need to cry. We need to pause and reflect on what was lost in order to start making peace with our new realities. It’s only when we face our emotions can we start to build and find the light again in a new world.
Overall, The Main Event is a film that is well-acted and well-told, and it makes you wish it were longer. As viewers, we might want to see where Dalton ends up. But I think part of the answer to that question is how we show up in our own lives. Joseph’s character would have to pick himself up again just like how we all must–by being brave to face the unknown.