Dark Star Pictures will release the drama/sports/LGBTQ+ film PUNCH in select theaters, On Demand and on Digital on March 10, 2023. The film will be on DVD on April 11, 2023.
Punch stars Academy Award® nominee Tim Roth (The Hateful Eight), Jordan Oosterhof (“The Cul De Sac”) and Conan Hayes (“Sweet Tooth”). The film was written and directed by Welby Ings in his feature film debut.
Jim is a promising teenage boxer, training under the watch of his demanding and alcoholic father. When Jim develops a relationship with a male classmate, the two are forced to navigate isolation, homophobia, and the brutality of small-town life. As Jim discovers what it means to be gay, he realizes how little strength has to do with heroism.
Director Welby Ings is an award-winning designer, filmmaker, and author who holds a PhD in narrative design. His short films have been selected in competition at over 80 international film festivals. Punch is his debut feature film. As well as being a film director Welby is also a Professor in Design at Auckland University of Technology in New Zealand and a long-term gay activist who has been heavily involved in the New Zealand homosexual and prostitution law reforms.
Punch has been in development for a long time and I have never let go of the determination to bring it into the light. It sits in the context of recent films like Moonlight, where sexuality and bullying in a coming-of-age narrative are used to explore the vulnerability and beauty of the human condition.
Although it is Jim’s story, this is really the story of anybody who has fought to find their place in the world, even when this means losing the things that keep you safe.
Punch looks at love in an unusual way. It is essentially two connected love stories; one between a father and his son and the other between two young men. Jim, Stan, and Whetu are all flawed but despite their clumsy handling of relationships with each other, they are all good men.
We feel for them and we want their lives to go in the right direction. When Whetu and Jim show us that they are free, that they have become strong and sensitive but separate men, our struggles with them and our hopes for them reach an unpredicted kind of triumph.