48 Hours with Muhammad Ali

On July 18th 1974, freelance photojournalist Peter Angelo Simon, got a loud knock on his hotel room door at 4.30am. "Grab your pants and your camera. The Champ is running" said a gruff voice from behind the door. The Champ in question was Muhammad Ali and Peter's assignment was to take him deep into the inner circle of perhaps the most famous man on the planet at that time; a man who was on the comeback trail, a man who was about to embark on perhaps his most famous fight, "The Rumble in the Jungle". Peter spent an intense 48 hours at Ali's personal training camp, dubbed "Fighters Heaven", deep in the Pennsylvanian countryside. For decades, 95% of the photographs Peter captured have remained unseen and this film showcases them for the very first time. Peter captured Ali unguarded and in a never to be repeated way by anyone else. They are unique and the results are as surprising as they are striking. This intimate, dreamlike documentary, relayed by an old man looking back on a key formative moment in his artistic life from his studio in Brooklyn, examines the alchemy of the photographic process, the strange nature of the passing of time and is an unguarded, quite unique look at a crucial moment in the life of a 20th century icon.

  • Daniel Glynn
    Director
    I Am Duran, The Four Year Plan
  • Mat Hodgson
    Producer
    I Am Duran, The Four Year Plan
  • Daniel Glynn
    Producer
    I Am Duran, The Four Year Plan
  • Muhammad Ali
    Key Cast
    "Himself"
  • George Forman
    Key Cast
    "Himself "
  • Rob Lord
    Composer
    Troop Zero, I Am Duran,
  • Project Type:
    Documentary, Short
  • Genres:
    Sport, Biography, photography, art, photojournalism
  • Runtime:
    16 minutes 30 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    March 31, 2019
  • Production Budget:
    1,000 GBP
  • Country of Origin:
    United Kingdom
  • Country of Filming:
    United Kingdom, United States
  • Language:
    English
  • Shooting Format:
    Digital
  • Aspect Ratio:
    16:9
  • Film Color:
    Color
  • First-time Filmmaker:
    No
  • Student Project:
    No
  • Sheffield Doc Fest
    Sheffield
    United Kingdom
    June 4, 2019
    Official selection Doc Player
Director Biography - Daniel Glynn

I'm a Producer & Director and co-founder of London Indie production company Ad Hoc Films. My filmmaking genesis is a cliche, having been handed my grandfathers cine camera from a very young age to document weddings and family gatherings, I very quickly caught 'the bug', and would often borrow Grandad's camera equipment to shoot re-enactments of scenes from my favourite 1980s blockbusters in my back garden throughout the 1980's and 1990's. After graduating from the film programme at The Surrey Institute of Art and Design at the end of the 1990's, I went onto work in TV and commercials as a freelance gun for hire until I formed my own company with fellow filmmaker Mat Hodgson in 2005.

In 2011 I produced the Grierson award shortlisted film, ‘The Four Year Plan’ (Netflix,BBC2). In 2013, I directed the documentary 'Sleeping Giant: An Indian Football Story' (BBCW) and produced 'Night of the Fight: Hatton's Last Stand' (ITV & IMG), a unique portrait of the events leading up to, during and after 5-time world champion boxer Ricky Hatton’s final fight.

Recent credits include the 3-part series ‘Fight Game’ (BBC1), 'Frampton: Return of the Jackal' (BBC1), 'The Verve: Bittersweet Memories' & '24 Hours with Muhammad Ali'. ‘I Am Durán’, my latest documentary production, tells the story of legendary boxer Roberto Durán & features Robert De Niro, Sylvester Stallone, Sugar Ray Leonard, Mike Tyson, Don King and Manuel Noreiga. Upcoming projects include a unique documentary thriller called ‘Run Hide Repeat’ and a major production currently being shot about Eric Cantona and Manchester United.

Documentary film is a passion and I am constantly exploring new ways to approach, evolve and challenge my process.

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Director Statement

I fell in love with this story about 3 years ago, after going to an exhibition of photographer Peter Angelo Simon's work, which included several prints from his Muhammad Ali archive. There was something so fresh and different about the images I saw displayed, beyond candid, somehow different to the usual posed images we are all so accustomed to seeing of Ali. I wanted to know more about them and most importantly more about the person who had managed to capture him in such a way.

I interviewed Peter soon after, before he left for his home in New York, and then followed it up with 2 more interviews in New York.

The Pictures of Ali speak for themselves, but I really wanted to frame them in a compelling narrative thats told in the first person, through the eyes of an artist in his twilight years, looking back on a vital moment in the evolution of his artistic process. The approach I hope gives the film an unusual, almost dreamlike feel, as Peter's 'stream of conscious' like interview, brings the story to life.

This is what would be described as a 'labour of love' project. I edited the film on a laptop and pulled in a lot of favours to get the film over the line from people like regular composer collaborator Rob Lord ('Troop Zero', 'The Girl who talked to Dolphins') and Splice Post Production. In a sense it became creative therapy for me, as I'd originally started out as an editor, but now in my current guise as a producer am no longer able to pursue that craft. I'd be editing the film on my laptop, often on my lengthy commute between home and work, and at any opportunity I could between other commercial projects. The whole process I'm shocked to say took some 2.5 years to complete.

I am delighted with the results and am indebted to some regular collaborators for their generous support and work in finishing the film (Original score and VFX work) but most important of all, I hope it is a fitting tribute to Peters work and a welcome addition to the legacy of the legend of Muhammad Ali.