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From Bullied to Action Film Hero: The Paul Mormando Story

Paul Mormando's Bound By Debt Photo

Martial artist-actor Paul Mormando (right) stars in the action film, ‘Bound By Debt.’



Brooklyn Native and Martial Arts Phenom-Turned-Action Film Star Fights For Dreams in New Movie, Bound By Debt

NEW YORK, NY — April 26, 2017 — Local champion martial artist and film fight choreographer Paul Mormando is once again inspiring children to not be afraid to defend their identities, and pursue their dreams, with the release of his new action film, ‘Bound By Debt.’ After struggling with low self-esteem and contemplating suicide while being bullied by the other children in his Brooklyn elementary school, the future performer gained the confidence to start defending himself. He began training in all different styles of martial arts, which resulted in him receiving such praise as being referred to as the real world “Rocky.” His life-long resolve paid off again when he finally received the opportunity to also fulfill his dream of acting in a martial arts movie.

The New York City-born and raised Mormando powerfully garnered the inspiration to fight back against the emotional obstacles he faced during his formative years when he watched a Bruce Lee film at the age of 13. The movie encouraged him to join a martial arts program, which allowed him to gain the discipline he needed to feel in control of his life. By the age of 17, the martial artist received his first black belt, which helped him eventually create his own technique system called CHA KI DO. By the time Mormando was 20, he had been declared a Grand Master, a title which typically takes most people more than 30 years to attain.

Understanding the importance of making all children feel welcome in their community, Mormando also decided to open two martial arts schools in Brooklyn. When his accomplishments as a martial artist were highlighted by the local media, he was approached by a publicist. That interaction helped the martial artist realize that he was also interested in acting.

Determined to break into Hollywood much like he did with the martial arts community in New York, Mormando wrote a script for his first independent film, ‘Double Fist.’ While deciding which actors he should cast in the movie, he saw a music video on television that featured a rapper who went by the stage name of Marky Mark. The singer, who’s now known more for his acting under his real name, Mark Wahlberg, agreed to star in the movie alongside Mormando.

However, Mormando’s dream of performing in films was soon shattered when his car was struck by a drunk driver while he was traveling through the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel. As a result of the accident, the local martial arts hero was told by his doctors that he would never walk again, and was also forced to give up both of his established martial arts schools, as well as his potential acting career. But his determination to walk and teach again led him to reopen Mormando Martial Arts & Kickboxing in 1999, nearly 10 years after the car accident.

Even with all his success and beating the odds, Mormando’s dream of being in the movie industry still lingered. So his wife, Anna, decided to make her feature film writing and director debut with ‘Bound by Debt.’ The duo also served as producers on the independent action movie, which is also being produced by Put Up Entertainment.

Mormando, who grew up watching his action idols, including Lee, Chuck Norris and Jean Claude Van Damme on the big screen, has said, “These days, most of the action films are ‘Transformers’ or based on super heroes. People want a hero that they can relate to,” and Mormando did just that with his character of Dylan in ‘Bound By Debt.’ The actor also promised that the action scenes in the martial arts drama “will be my best work to date, as we cast real life martial artists to fulfill the roles instead of actors.”

Cinevest Interactive has acquired the worldwide distribution rights to the underground film, which is set to battle its competition when it’s released in December 2017.

About ‘Bound By Debt’:

Mormando plays Dylan James, a Mixed Martial Arts competitor who fights for the same mob that his gambling brother Robert (Bobby Ciasulli) is in debt to. While the underground fighter is estranged from his family, when he can no longer fulfill his obligations to the mob, Mob Boss Mr. Russo (Samuel DiFiore) still uses Robert’s gambling addiction and family as leverage against Dylan.

The Mixed Martial Arts competitor soon becomes driven to save and protect his brother when Mr. Russo begins using Robert’s wife, Kristen (Michele Frantzeskos), and their two daughters, Alexis (Nikki Silva) and Nicole (Alexis Mormando), as a personal marker. The two brothers will have to reunite to save themselves and Robert’s family.


Photo ofPaul Mormando
Paul Mormando
Job Title
Martial artist, film fight choreographer and actor
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As a life-long fan of entertainment, particularly films, television and music, and an endless passion for writing, Karen Benardello decided to combine the two for a career. She graduated from New York's LIU Post with a B.F.A in Journalism, Print and Electronic. While still attending college, Karen began writing for Shockya during the summer of 2007, when she began writing horror movie reviews. Since she began writing for Shockya, Karen has been promoted to the position of Senior Movies & Television Editor. Some of her duties in the position include interviewing filmmakers and musicians, producing posts on celebrity news and contributing reviews on albums and concerts. Some of her highlights include attending such festivals and conventions as the Tribeca Film Festival, the New York Film Festival, SXSW, Toronto After Dark, the Boston Film Festival and New York Comic-Con.

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