Screened as part of NZIFF 2019
Kiwi boxing great Billy Graham grew up with a troubled background and was destined to become another criminal statistic until the discipline and training of boxing turned him around. Today, Billy runs five boxing academies around the country and hopes to change the lives of young kids who were just like him. Mark Albiston’s uplifting short documentary Billy and The Kids tells the story of several ‘kids’ from diverse backgrounds who have all benefitted from Billy’s mentoring.
The oldest, Latu, emigrated from Nauru in the 90s. As an overstayer on the run from the police, Latu’s residency was supported by Billy. Now 25 years old, Latu is a full-time coach at Billy’s Cannons Creek gym. 12-year-old runaway William is brought to the boxing gym by his auntie, who hopes it will provide some structure in his life. Teenager Tom has an anxiety disorder and isn’t a great boxer, but the gym helps him get through the tough times. After losing his father in Afghanistan and emigrating with his mother and siblings, Ali has found a second family at the academy. We also meet a sassy bunch of girls – Maddy, Mikala, Georgia and Genuine – who find it easier to connect at the gym rather than at school.