After the Cage • World Premier Scheduled for Court Theatre March 13th

Luka Dziubyna’s Fascinating Film About World Class Athletes Facing a Crossroads at the Intersection of their Careers

Posted In: Arts & Entertainment, Artist Feature, Sports, National Sports,   From Issue 908   By: Robert E Martin

26th January, 2021     0

“Retirement comes when the body can no longer physically support the things we want to do in life. However, our body and emotions always want to compete. Our sense of competition never goes away until the day you die.”  - Matt Hughes (two-time UFC Welterweight Champion, UFC Hall of Fame inductee, and NJCAA Hall of Fame inductee)

With his latest documentary After the Cage, Saginaw filmmaker Luka Dziubyna has assembled a cast featuring some of the world’s most renowned fighters and athletes and focused his lens upon what happens when circumstances force these superstars to step away from the ring and drop out of the limelight into retirement when many of them - only in their late 30s to mid-40s - would ostensibly be in the prime of their life in any other occupation.

As an ex-amateur boxer himself who has always been interested in fighting, Dziubyna spent seven years in the United State Air Force working as a broadcaster for the Pentagon Channel and as a combat camera correspondent, only to suffer a back injury back in 2005 that led him into covering professional boxing in California and Las Vegas..

“I’ve always been interested in wrestling, fighting, and watching ballet,” notes Luka, “so basically I started working on two films: one about professional fighters and another about professional ballerinas, whose  careers usually end by the age of 38.”

“Many of these people don’t want to teach or know how to give up the limelight, so I interviewed eight of these world renowned fighting superstars that consist of Alesha Zapitella, Pat Milletich, Brooke Mayo, Jason Reinhardt, Miranda Maverick, Dan Severn, Matt Hughes and Jason Fish so people can develop a better sense of what drives them through this stage of their lives.”

This World Premier of After the Cage, along with a special Meet & Greet with all the stars is set to happen on Saturday, March 13th at 4:00 PM at The Court Theater in Saginaw.  VIP tickets are priced at $100 and includes the film premier, a meet & greet with each of these superstars, signed photo opportunities, popcorn, drink and raffle prizes, and more.  Tickets can be purchased by emailing or directly from local fighter Jason Fish.

“As a good example, Dan Severn is a pioneer of the UFC and was born in 1958 and has had over 100 MMA Matches,” continues Luka. “He is used to fighting with no time limits and is going to be 62 year’s old and is still at it engaged in professional wrestling. He’s still in great physical shape, so we learn a bit about his perspective.”

“Matt Hughes  is a nine time UFC Champion and 3-years ago he was hit by a train, which is an important story to tell because he was the epitome of fitness. He lives in the country and was leaving work and the train track was 8 feet taller than the road, only the corn had grown so high he didn’t see or hear any bells or lights or anything to warn him that a train was coming, so when his car got hit he was shot more than 60 feet off the track. It’s a miracle of science that he is still living and he’s re-learning to walk and speak properly.  So basically, I wanted to blend each of these people to show how they are coping with different stages of their careers.”

Four of the fighters profiled in Luka’s film are still fighting, whereas the others are in different stages of their lives.  “Essentially, After the Cage serves as a potpourri of perspectives from different athletes coping with different stages in their careers,” summarizes Luka. “In fact, Jason Fish is a Bare Knuckle fighter from Saginaw who is climbing the ranks and expected to have a title shot soon.”

Luka explains how he’s been working on this project for a year now. “I spend 8 months every year in Portugal and was supposed to go back to Europe and travel to Moscow and Cyprus, and Holland, Germany & Italy to film the ballerinas, but then the COVID-19 thing came down and all that got postponed.  Consequently, I pushed this ‘After the Cage’ film project into the spot of top priority.”

After the Cage is Luka’s seventh feature film to date. Previously he has filmed documentaries for Major Chords for Minors, SaginAddict, another film about Veterans & Suicide, a documentary about the Mustard Seed, and a highly notable film about predators who meet underage girls online called EXPOSURES.

Following the World Premier of After the Cage here in Saginaw, Luka says he will be distributing the film through an aggregator for showings on GooglePlay, Hulu, and other streaming channels. “I’ve used Amazon predominantly in the past,” notes Luka, “but now am focusing more on Google, Hulu & Vudu. Usually you pay an aggregator anywhere from $7,000 to $10,000 to pitch your film to Netflix, or any of the streaming channels, as you cannot approach them directly yourself,” he explains.

“I’m kind of stepping away from Amazon because we live in a ‘Cancel Culture’ era and Amazon decided to ban my film about drug addiction because they said they didn’t like drugs,” he continues. “I don’t like drugs either and the whole point of that film was to portray what is factual and truthful; not hide or sugar-coat it, so I’m moving to other venues for distribution now.”

Luka says After the Cage is the biggest project he’s worked upon, just because of the stellar names and talent involved.  “My entire goal with this project was to break down some barriers, so I’m hoping this premier at the Court Theater is well-attended.  People have been cooped up for so long and the same is true with the fighters. What’s amazing about each of these fighters and athletes is they are at a stage in life where they have nothing to prove.  They did it all in the ring and are very modest and down-to-earth individuals.”

“The film will run around 1 hour and 42 minutes and afterwards we will have this meet & greet, which is a very good deal.  The $100 VIP pricing is a very good deal because if you met just one of these fighters at a conference you’d be paying $60 easily; and here in addition to the film people can meet 8 fighters while catching a world premiere.  Plus, other fighters will probably show up that aren’t on the roster.  People can talk with them and take selfies and have a chance to mingle with three MMA Legends and UFC hall of famers.”

A select few tickets will also be available at the show to join the fighters for dinner after the meet and greet following the event. 



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