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Netflix Documentary Filmed at RVTKD

Director Erin Lee Carr brought a film crew to our Florence dojang to gather footage for an upcoming Netflix documentary, which is scheduled to air in 2020. Carr directs documentaries for Netflix and HBO with a focus on legal themes, such as an upcoming feature on price gouging in the pharmaceutical industry. RVTKD Instructor and Partner Luke Ryan, Ee Dan, is the subject of this four part series, which expands upon a 2018 Rolling Stone profile of Ryan and another Massachusetts attorney. That article described a series of landmark cases exposing systemic corruption in the Commonwealth’s criminal justice system.

The film crew’s visit on Monday, February 25, lasted about an hour and captured seven black and brown belt RVTKD students performing poomsae, drills, sparring, and a number of other components of a typical class. They were polite, thoughtful, and respectful of our school’s traditions, and it was in all regards an interesting experience. Because the shoot came together at short notice, it was in some ways an excellent representation of what our school does best: straightforward, honest, unrehearsed training—the opposite of the flashy but empty demonstrations that may be more familiar to audiences accustomed to contemporary martial arts appearing onscreen.

Documentary directors typically gather hundreds of hours of footage—when in doubt, capturing anything that has the potential to be interesting or to dramatize their points—which must then be ruthlessly cut to fit into the time constraints of their projects. This means it’s hard to know at this early stage if any of the footage of our Taekwondo school will be used. If any is included in the final cut, the scene will likely be very brief. Nevertheless, it’s still be a fun novelty to imagine our school featured in a documentary by such an important production company. As the air date draws closer, we’ll follow up with more details whenever they become available.


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