Daniel Hayes has three things on his to-do list — to become a Hollywood actor, an elite athlete and an Olympic boxer.
His journey to get there is the focus of The Honey Badger, a short film that has amassed dozens of accolades, including the award for Best Documentary Short at the Los Angeles Independent Film Festival Awards. The film has its Canadian premiere Saturday at 2:30 p.m. at Toronto's Scotiabank Theatre as part of the Canadian Film Fest.
The film's title comes from the nickname the 28-year-old from Mississauga has earned in the ring. The honey badger is an animal noted for its fearlessness.
"It's definitely something that will constantly test your will time and time again," Hayes said about the sport in an interview with CBC's Here And Now. "I believe we're all really — when you break us down to the bare bones — very primal, so I love the combat aspect to the sport. That's why I do it."
After missing the 2016 Olympic Games because of a shoulder injury, Hayes is now preparing to qualify for the 2020 Games in Tokyo. The documentary follows the boxer as he prepares for his first professional fight in Mexico, now that the International Olympic Committee has allowed pro boxers to compete..
The documentary is directed by his longtime friend Kamar Burke — also known as KB Kutz.
"I kind of just followed [Hayes] around," Burke said. "He's just an animated guy, he's just so hungry, so it was easy to get all those good shots."
Burke said he's been amazed with the response his film is getting — especially considering it's his first one.
Check out the trailer for the film below.