“Fighting Belle,” a comedy featuring Sherri Eakin, Carol Ann Scruggs and Jessica Harthcock, was directed, written and produced by University of Southern Mississippi graduate Sean Riley. Originally from Baton Rouge, Riley graduated with a bachelor’s degree in radio, television and film. He later received his master’s in Educational Administration from the University of Scranton.
Filming for this movie began in Sep. 2016, and they filmed on weekends every three to four weeks before taking a holiday hiatus and returning to production in Jan. 2017.
According to IMDB, Riley has also directed, written and produced a number of shorts such as “The Perfect Sense,” “The V Card” and “Epiphany.” Riley also served as a production assistant on the Coen Brother’s film “O Brother, Where Art Thou?”
Indiegogo.com describes the film as “Legally Blonde meets Rocky!” while also saying, “A sassy Southern Belle gets left at the alter by her fighter fiancé, which prompts her to start her own training with an ex- boxer from the ‘wrong side’ of the tracks as a means of getting revenge against her fiancé in the boxing ring.”
“Fighting Belle” was shot completely on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Specifically, at Charisma Boutique, the Julep Room and a private home in Ocean Springs.
All of the boxing scenes were filmed at the Gulfport Boxing Club. For Delilah’s family sequences, they used the Oak Crest Mansion in Pass Christian. The film was completed with a budget just under $10,000 through principal photography, but with actor deferrals, it came out to be closer to $20,000.
Riley said up to that point, “I had completed a handful of short films, but I still hadn’t been able to check off the feature film box on my bucket list.
“Looking ahead to the future, I realized there was never going to be a perfect time to make a feature film, so I parlayed the momentum created from ‘The Perfect Tense’ right into the development of Fighting Belle,” Riley said. “Since indie filmmaking is such a dicey proposition, I wanted to put my best foot forward in all areas to be successful. Fighting Belle represented a high concept idea, great script, was very funny and warm and held appeal for all ages and genders.”
The release date for the film is still being determined pending distribution offers, but Riley said that it could be as early as summer 2017 or as late as 2018.
“I’ve been theatrically screening the movie in various Mississippi cities in the meantime, however,” Riley said. “Our first theatrical showing was in Ocean Springs on March 18. I’m also interested in entering the movie into a few film festivals as well.”
A portion of the proceeds from the film will be donated to sponsor at-risk youth boxers.