Local Couple Gets in SFF on First Try

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Last July, local boxing legend China Smith had a "come-back" fight at the Manatee Civic Center. His friends, married couple Lori Collins and Ray Rodriguez, offered to produced a promotional video on YouTube.

"It was supposed to be a promotion, just with China. After the 2nd interview it just took off by itself," Rodriguez remembers.

It took off all right--landing in the "Documentary Short" category of the Sarasota Film Festival.

The movie, "China 'The Dragon' Smith: The Second Chance" traces the rise and fall and rise of a man born and raised in nearby Newtown, resisted temptations, took the high road and now preaches to kids.

"It's outstanding, words cannot describe it. Words cannot describe how I'm feeling," Smith says.

And while China stays in shape to attempt another comeback this summer--Lori and Ray have already entered their film in other festivals.

They still can't believe it.

"We've never been behind a camera before.  It was so much fun interviewing his friends, his coaches. It was an amazing process and we loved every minute of it," Lori says.

The 21-minute movie is part of the 95 minute film shorts at the Sarasota Film Festival.