This Irish filmmaker-turned-kickboxer needs your help

Brosna O’Donovan is in the process of making a film about the success of the sport in Ireland.

BrosnaOD / YouTube

IRELAND’S ASCENT IN the world of kickboxing is one of the lesser known sports stories of recent years.

In fact, an argument could be made that Irish people are more proficient at kickboxing than any other sport at international level (with the possible exceptions of golf and boxing).

There is one particular discipline of the sport that this country seems to thrive at — point fighting. Ireland are currently ranked third in the world in this category, while also boasting three European champions within its ranks.

Yet despite these successes, there remains a level of apathy about the sport in the media and among the public at large. While it has made considerable strides towards the goal in recent times, kickboxing is not currently an Olympic sport, hence funding towards it is scarce, and interest levels are consequently not particularly high.

Nevertheless, one person determined to change the public’s perception of kickboxing is Irish filmmaker Brosna O’Donovan.

O’Donovan, who has worked in television production and digital media for the past 10 years with companies such as RTÉ and BBC, was immediately taken aback by Ireland’s phenomenal success in kickboxing upon learning about it five years ago, having decided to take up the sport herself.

Accordingly, she has undergone the unenviable task of making a documentary, Six Minutes in Maribor, that takes a closer look at the sport, while she has also shot a short teaser for the project (see above).

The resulting film follows the Irish team as they prepare for the WAKO European Championships in Maribor, Slovenia this November.

So what prompted her to undertake this significant challenge?

“I had done little short films and stuff [with the Irish kickboxers] and the guys are great on camera, so I thought it’d be great to do a longer piece and follow them to the Europeans,” she tells

“They’re not in the Olympics yet, but they’re kind of on their way to getting Olympic recognition, so I think that’d be a big thing once it’s in the Olympics and people will want to know more about it. But it’s still a minority sport that’s not out there too much.

“And also, there’s an element of ‘because Ireland does so well at it, it’s easy’. But it isn’t. It’s been going around since the 70s, it’s a long-established sport. It’s been successful in Ireland since the early 90s, so we’ve kind of built up a programme where there’s success yearly. It’s not just one or two athletes, there are a lot.”

Yet with kickboxing still under the radar as a sport in Ireland, simply obtaining funds to shoot the film will be difficult, which is why O’Donovan is going down the crowdfunding route and has set up a Fundit page for donations.

O’Donovan explains that her documentary is “a little under 50%” complete, and says the extra funds will go towards sound and editing equipment, in addition to travel expenses for her crew when they eventually do set off for the European Championships.

“I just thought it would be the handiest way to fund it,” she explains. “Kickboxing is a fairly big organisation throughout the country and hopefully I’ll be getting people to support their own sport or the idea behind it. But with it being a minority sport, it’s hard to get funding for a documentary like this, because you can’t guarantee the amount of people that will watch it and what not.”

And finally, which does she find tougher going — filmmaking or kickboxing?

“To be okay at kickboxing is enjoyable, but the difference between being okay and being the best… There’s no comparison, the amount of training the top athletes do is incredible.”

Details on how to donate to Brosna O’Donovan’s upcoming film can be found here.

‘We’re here to take over’ — New Conor McGregor mural on Dublin’s Clanbrassil St>

Meet Ireland’s new world champion kickboxers>