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Poster for Never Be A Punching Bag For Nobody
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Never Be A Punching Bag For Nobody

Opens on April 30

Director: Naomi Yang Run Time: 65 min. Release Year: 2023

Starring: Mary Ellen Welch, Naomi Yang, Sal Bartolo Jr.

IFFBoston Centerpiece-Documentary Spotlight Film

Director Naomi Yang, Editor Ian Coss, and Subject Sal Bartolo Jr. in Attendance

A neighborhood Boston boxing gym out by Logan Airport is the last place you’d expect to find musician Naomi Yang (Galaxie 500, Damon & Naomi,) but that’s where she’s been spending her time, learning boxing and making a feature-length documentary, NEVER BE A PUNCHING BAG FOR NOBODY.

The film weaves together three stories: colorful boxing coach and ex-drill sergeant Sal Bartolo Jr., son of a renowned 1940s East Boston boxing champ; Yang herself, learning boxing from trainer Bartolo and reexamining some of her own family’s disturbing history; and schoolteacher Mary Ellen Welch, who in the 1960s mobilized a group of neighborhood women against encroachment from Logan airport, fighting back against an indifferent city government. None of these protagonists are destined to win the Big Fight, but all offer inspiration to anyone determined to stand up for themselves and hold their ground.

Yang’s keen eye for portraiture, landscape, and forgotten local history creates an affecting and revelatory picture of a small patch of urban landscape most have only ever flown over.

Join us for the release of the soundtrack to Naomi Yang’s NEVER BE A PUNCHING BAG FOR NOBODY on Monday, May 1 – 8:00pm at the Somerville Theatre’s Crystal Ballroom (Learn more and Buy Tickets).

Brattle passes not accepted.


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