A Wild Life
Louisville International Film Festival Entrant Talks Taekwondo, Film Directing and Falcon Training
Writer / Jon Shoulders
Photographer / Brian Brosmer
The term “Renaissance man” is probably an understatement when applied to Edwin Brochin. His past and current professional titles include martial arts instructor, charter boat captain, hunting and fishing guide, television producer and host and feature film director.
An Evansville native, Brochin competed as a full-time taekwondo athlete from 1989 to 2003, with seven Indiana state championships and a medal from the 1997 U.S. championship tournament to his name. In 1993, he opened the doors to TKO Taekwondo, a self-defense and competitive martial arts dojo in Indianapolis, and began hosting tournaments at his facility shortly after building up a steady clientele.
Brochin’s experience hosting TKO tournaments unwittingly helped pave the way for a successful foray into the television and film world — but those experiences had nothing to do with kicking, punching or grappling.
“I would videotape all those fight nights, so I learned how to produce and edit just by filming those tournaments,” he says. “I enjoyed it and seemed to have a knack for it.”
In 1999 Brochin’s informal directorial endeavors continued when he and a friend traveled to South Carolina to shoot an educational video on catfish fishing methods. An avid outdoorsman since his early years, Brochin rented a booth at the annual Indianapolis Boat, Sport and Travel Show to sell VHS copies of the film, and a representative from local Indy channel UPN-23 promptly took notice. A 13-episode fishing and hunting documentary series was agreed to, and by 2005 “Outdoors with Eddie Brochin”, produced by and starring Brochin himself, was airing nationally.
Since launching his TV document series, which ran until 2010, Brochin has produced and directed several films including “The Falconer: Sport of Kings”, his first feature film shot in Mongolia and completed in July 2013. The film follows professional falconers who use golden eagles for hunting expeditions, and Brochin spent almost a month living among Mongolian sheepherders for the project. It won Best Director of a Feature Documentary at the 2014 Madrid International Film Festival and several other international awards.
“I was fascinated with birds of prey since I was about eight years old,” says Brochin, who began training formally in falconry in 2003 and is currently a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Master Falconer. “I was an apprentice under a master falconer named Greg Thomas and studied for years at it. It’s fascinating to me.”
Since completing “Falconers”, Brochin has remained busy with two subsequent film projects. “Spirit of the Bull” tells the story of a legendary fighting bull known as El Toron and won multiple international film festival awards in 2016. “The Whisker Seeker”, a documentary on conservation practices related to catfish, was completed this year and has already been accepted into three film festivals including this fall’s Louisville International Festival of Film.
“It’s a conservation film about catfish and exposing all the illegal fishing practices in the industry as well as the legal commercial overharvesting of catfish around the country,” Brochin says. “It took me five years to produce, and it’s been released on Amazon Prime.”
Brochin recently signed a distribution deal with Sony Entertainment for all three of his film documentaries, which will be available through iTunes, Google Play, Netflix and Hulu beginning in November. Never one to stay idle, he is currently working on a sequel to The Whisker Seeker called “Sharks of the Amazon”, which he hopes to be the second in an ongoing documentary series on catfish.
Reflecting on his unusually diverse career journey, Brochin maintains that his successes have arisen from an honest and diligent pursuit of his true passions.
“The things I’ve built up and spent so much time on, like my martial arts facility and my hunting and fishing charter service, I feel a strong responsibility to maintain those things and take pride in them,” he says. “There’s never been a time to really get too comfortable, and I enjoy all these things that I involve myself with.”