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Boom Boom’s movie on city to premiere in Cleveland

Published: Thu, February 25, 2010 @ 12:00 a.m.

Boom Boom’s movie on city — warts and all — to premiere in Cleveland

By Guy D’Astolfo



Actor and Youngstown native Ed O'Neill shares insights into his hometown in a scene from “Youngstown: Still Standing.”


Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini lends direction during a shooting session in May of 2008 at the Youngstown Club, where the filmmaking team interviewed residents.

If you go...

What: “Youngstown: Still Standing”

When: 2:10 p.m. March 24; and 9:30 p.m. March 25

Where: The Cleveland International Film Festival, Tower City Cinemas, Tower City, downtown Cleveland

Tickets: Go on sale to the general public at 11 a.m. March 5. An exclusive pre-sale for CIFF members only begins at 11 a.m. Friday. To become a member, go to clevelandfilm.org or call (216) 623-3456. Membership levels begin at $25.

A documentary film about Youngstown produced by former boxing champion and hometown hero Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini will get its world premiere March 24-25 at the Cleveland International Film Festival.

“Youngstown: Still Standing” features interviews with local leaders and narration by two favorite sons: actor Ed O’Neill and cartoon voice specialist Jim Cummings. It was shot in Youngstown in 2008 and 2009.

“I am so proud of it,” said Mancini. “It is as good as it can get. I don’t think anybody could do any better. It is historical, informative and entertaining.”

John Chechitelli, an Austintown native now working as an actor/cinematographer in Hollywood, is the director. Chechitelli and New York filmmaker Sam Kass captured the footage, which largely consists of interviews of city leaders, authorities and long-time residents.

The 89-minute film takes a warts-and-all look at Youngstown, but in a manner that reveals fondness and appreciation for the city. Experts from Youngstown State University, political leaders and others describe the city’s history, offer insight and give first-person remembrances. The result is a portrait of the city’s colorful past, its present condition, and its future direction.

“Still Standing” also exposes the elements that contributed to Youngstown’s decline, including organized crime and the decline of the steel industry.

Mahoning Valley rock musicians, or those with local roots, including The Zou and Poobah, created the film soundtrack.

“It is totally a Youngstown production,” said Mancini.

At this time, no local screenings are planned, although Mancini said he is trying to schedule one. A private screening for those involved in the film will be held in Youngstown March 23, but a location has not yet been set.

Mancini is working on distribution deals, and is shopping the documentary to several cable television networks and to PBS stations. DVDs of the film will be available at the Cleveland film festival and will become available by phone order in the near future.

The project hit a speed bump when Kass stepped down as director shortly after the crew’s first trip to Youngstown in the summer of 2008. But without missing a beat, Chechitelli took over.

“Taking over in the middle of the game was difficult, but directing has always been my aspiration and I’m just thankful that Ray [Mancini] and our executive producer Jim Napoli allowed me to fill that role,” said Chechitelli. “Up until that point, I had only directed short films and commercials, so to make my feature debut with this project was great.”

Mancini and Chechitelli, both of whom live in Los Angeles, returned to Youngstown several times to shoot more footage. “After that I spent countless hours in the editing room trying to shape everything into a cohesive story,” said Chechitelli.

The result, he added, is “a look at a unique American city that has been through a heck of a fight, as told through the perspective of people who grew up there.”

Mancini credited Chechitelli for giving the film its shape and quality.

“We did 10 edits, and John kept saying ‘no, no, no’,” said Mancini. “I would tell him to put this in or take this out, but there was still something missing. John, to his credit, knew that we needed a voiceover to narrate it. He got Jim Cummings, and it came alive. And we got Ed O’Neill, who leads us in to the different chapters. That took it to another level.”

Cummings is a voice actor who has brought to life more than a dozen animated cartoon characters, including both Winnie the Pooh and Tigger from The Disney Channel’s “My Friends Tigger and Pooh” show. He has also lent his voice to a variety of Warner Bros. cartoons, including the characters Darkwing Duck and Taz the Tasmanian Devil, and has done work for the cartoons “Batman,” “Pinky and the Brain” and “Animaniacs.” His latest project was the voice of Ray the Cajun Firefly in Disney’s acclaimed animated movie, “The Princess and the Frog,” which was released last year.

O’Neill’s career has reached a new peak with his lead role in the ABC sitcom “Modern Family,” a critical and popular favorite. He also played Al Bundy in the landmark Fox sitcom “Married With Children.”

Both Cummings and O’Neill are Ursuline High School graduates.


1peacelover(838 comments)posted 6 years, 4 months ago

I hope this film will be screened locally some time soon........ I would love to see it.

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2mikeymike(469 comments)posted 6 years, 4 months ago

It sounds like this would be a good movie to see,I also hope it comes to the Youngstown area.I wish Boom Boom Good Luck with his screening.

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3sue(179 comments)posted 6 years, 4 months ago

How about a screening at YSU ?

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4Lifes2Short(3882 comments)posted 6 years, 4 months ago

Looks really interesting, hopefully we get to see it in Youngstown.

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5NoBS(2758 comments)posted 6 years, 4 months ago

Why isn't it premiering in Youngstown?

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6ytownoptimist(86 comments)posted 6 years, 4 months ago

NoBS - because Cleveland has a Film Festival & Youngstown doesn't. It will initially get more bang for the buck there. Geeze, do we have to start this argument already? Just be thankful that locals made good & that a balanced look at Ytown will be shown rather than a lop-sided all-negative that tends to be shown on the news. I say let's applaud Ray & spur on his efforts to get the film shown locally.

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7jfuze0905(82 comments)posted 6 years, 4 months ago

I'd love to see it down here at the Sarasota Film Festival! There are a ton of Youngstown natives in this area.

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8SunnySkies(20 comments)posted 6 years, 4 months ago

Well isn't it ironic that Mancini is the one to put the final nail in the coffin of Youngstown. A final Tribute. And where is he? Living in Los Angeles. Why doesn't he live here, back on the southside? Come home and clean up this town of thugs that murder innocent old ladies. He's a boxing champion.
Fuggettabout the movies. We need your muscle and money.

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9cambridge(4060 comments)posted 6 years, 4 months ago

"Why doesn't he live here, back on the south side?"

He didn't take THAT many punches.

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10JIMANDERSON(13 comments)posted 6 years, 4 months ago

I have lived in arizona for 36yrs, but I was born in ytown and raised there. I spent my first 18yrs there before joining the Air Force. I always say ytown is my home town and talk about how great a place it is even with the bad that has happened to it. You don't have to live there to show love and support for the town. Just be thankful that someone like Ray is willing to take on this task to show the world the real Youngstown

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11cambridge(4060 comments)posted 6 years, 4 months ago

AlwaysHope.....You misunderstand my comment. I was being sarcastic. My point is that he never got hit hard enough too make him move back to Ytown.

Ray has brought a lot of positive recognition to the area and has always conducted himself with class. I really can't think of anyone else the area should be more proud of.

Anyone who thinks he should move back to the area and share his wealth isn't thinking very clearly. SunnySkies should train everyday and climb into the ring against world class fighters, become a world champion and then move too what has become a ghetto and share his wealth. Somehow I don't picture that happening.

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12DragonFly664(198 comments)posted 6 years, 4 months ago

SunnySkies, Ray lives in LA because that is where the movie industry is, DUH, and although this is none of your business, he is always back in the YO area. Its not his job to clean up the SouthSide, last time I looked he was not a cop.....

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13Youngstown_Strong(91 comments)posted 6 years, 4 months ago

"I've always said that the people of Youngstown played a large part in who I was and in my success... They always followed me and stuck with me wherever I fought. There were times in my career, in tough fights, where their encouragement and support carried me farther than I wanted to go. Because of that, I have a great appreciation for the people of Youngstown." -- Ray Mancini


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14CSCHANZ(1 comment)posted 6 years, 4 months ago

My husband was born and raised in
Y-town he is a very proud man and he will always be a Y-town man even though he has lived in Sacramento, CA for 26 years. You will hear
"Go Browns" "Go Cleveland Calaliers" and when it comes to his city he will always be a true die hard Youngstoian.
Thanks, Boom Boom for doing this for Youngstown!!!!!
"Married to a Youngstoian"

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15Stan(9923 comments)posted 6 years, 4 months ago

I aspire to do a movie on the subculture of Youngstown and will call it "Ground Zero" . Nobody who is in leadership positions in Youngstown wants to rock the boat and do what needs to be done in cleaning the town up . I am curious if "Youngstown:Still Standing" will get to the core of today's problems .

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16candystriper(575 comments)posted 6 years, 4 months ago

Looking forward to the film!
Debbie's pool party 1979
Keep the Fire
Kenny Loggins

...wonder what Guy Thomas is doing?

LA is a wonderful place to live.

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17leftyompton4life(79 comments)posted 6 years, 4 months ago

Even though I have only been out of Youngstown 7 months I am still proud to call it home. Like I say "It is what you make it." You are the only one that can make it fun,horrible,entertaining,classy,exhausting....no one has that control. I moved to find a new job which I did but I still mention Youngstown all the time...I made my 25 years there fun and exciting...I mean I think things could be better in a physical sense and economic sense but that it not my responsibility. All I can be held accountable for is myself...and I enjoyed Youngstown as much as I could...but it was time to move on.

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