ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — In about a week, “Tapia” will premiere at the Los Angeles Film Festival.
The documentary about Albuquerque’s Johnny Tapia also just got a huge push from a famous rapper.
Rapper, actor and producer Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson acquired the rights to “Tapia” along with promoter Lou DiBella on Friday.
“This is a big thing because 50 has so much of a reach, which goes beyond hip hop,” says Eddie Alcazar, director of “Tapia.” “He’s been getting into boxing promotion and doing more films. It just really helps us move forward with getting the world to see Johnny’s story.”
The documentary chronicles Tapia’s very public struggle with drug addiction and the perpetual trauma caused by the brutal rape and murder of his mother when he was 8 years old. Her death became the catalyst for both his unprecedented boxing career as well as his volatile drug addiction.
Alcazar says Jackson and Tapia shared similar upbringings.
“Jackson’s mom was also killed when he was a young boy and he liked the intensity of the project,” he explains. “There’s a crazy connection, but it’s something that caught his eye. We needed something like this to bring more attention to the film.”
The film also features interviews with Mike Tyson, trainer Freddie Roach and Tapia’s widow Teresa.
Alcazar says “Tapia” will premiere almost two weeks after the year anniversary of Tapia’s death — one June 15.
There will also be another screening on June 18 because the premiere is sold out.
“This was the closest festival to his anniversary,” Alcazar says. “And premiering in Los Angeles will give us more reach when it comes to potential distributors. There has been such support from everyone on this film.”
Alcazar says the documentary was a result of researching for the feature film.
“As we were filming the documentary, Johnny knew he had to tell his story,” he says. “I feel very lucky to have filmed his last interview and now we’re getting to bring his story to the world.”
After the Los Angeles premiere, Alcazar says the film will move on to the festival circuit.
“We’re definitely going to have a screening in Albuquerque in the future,” he says. “We just have to find the right time to make it happen.”
As far as the feature film on Tapia, Alcazar says the feature is in the development stages.
The film will star up-and-coming actor Shiloh Fernandez.
“We recently did a photo shoot with Shiloh and the similarities between he and Johnny are amazing,” he says. “We’re hoping to actually get started on the movie in the fall.”