The story of his meteoric rise from dental technician to boxing world champion is worthy of its own hard-hitting Hollywood blockbuster.
Now Leeds Warrior Josh Warrington is set for a knockout big screen debut in his home town when his remarkable journey takes centre stage at the launch of this year’s spectacular Leeds International Film Festival.
Opening on Thursday, November 1, the festival will see the world premiere of the new film Josh Warrington: Fighting for a City, which follows Josh for two pivotal years on his way to being crowned the city’s first male world champion, winning the IBF belt at Elland Road earlier this year.
Made by Leeds-based Moneyglass Films, with investment from Screen Yorkshire’s Yorkshire Content Fund, the film captures some of the many sacrifices, struggles and surprises along the way while also celebrating Josh’s special relationship with the city of Leeds and his dedication to his family.
Speaking about the launch and the film’s involvement in the festival, Josh, who will be attending the red carpet opening night at Leeds Town Hall, said: “It’s an incredibly proud moment for me to be opening the film festival in my home town and to see the journey me and my team have been on brought to life on the big screen.
“The people of Leeds have always been so amazingly supportive and they’ve been with me every step of the way, so to be sharing this story with them will be really special.”
The film will officially open the 15 day festival which is the largest in England outside of London.
Councillor Judith Blake, leader of Leeds City Council, said: “Leeds has a very long and proud tradition of supporting excellence and innovation in film and the festival provides a world class platform for both local, national and international talent.
“It’s fantastic to see that this year’s festival will also celebrate the story of Josh Warrington, a local lad who has risen to the pinnacle of sporting excellence and become an ambassador for Leeds and a truly inspirational example of what can be accomplished through hard work, self-belief and dedication.”
For the first time, this year the event will also be supported by Leeds 2023, the city’s new international cultural festival, which is backing some of the city’s biggest arts events including last week’s sensational Light Night Leeds.
Sharon Watson, chair of the Leeds 2023 independent steering group, said: “Leeds has a fabulous cultural offering to rival any city in the world and events like the Leeds International Film Festival are proof positive of that.
“We’re incredibly proud to be supporting the festival and to be doing our bit to give Leeds and everything it has to offer a bigger and better showcase than ever before.”
This year’s event will be the 32nd annual festival, with more than 40,000 attendees expected to enjoy a huge programme of films screened at venues including Leeds Town Hall, Vue at The Light, Everyman Leeds, and Hyde Park Picture House.
Also part of this year’s festival will be political satire Sorry to Bother You which has its first screening in the UK outside of London, and a preview of Mike Leigh’s much-anticipated Venice Film Festival hit Peterloo, with Mike Leigh in attendance on Thursday, November 1.
The festival will also continue its tradition of supporting Yorkshire-based talent in its Official Selection with Bill Buckhearst’s Doncaster-set coming-of-age debut Pond Life receiving its World Premiere, and Iraq’s nomination for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar The Journey by Leeds-based director Mohamed Al-Daradji and producers Human Film screens for the first time in the North.
The full LIFF2018 programme including tickets and passes will be online at www.leedsfilmcity.com from 10am today (October 11). Booking is available via the website, in person and by phone at Leeds City Centre Box Office on 0113 376 0318.
Individual tickets are priced £6.00-£9.00. LIFF FULL passes give access to all screenings at the Festival for £100, with discount pass options for under 25s via the new LIFF BUZZ pass, and the new LIFF LITE booking option with discounts for those booking 6 tickets either for themselves or for a group.