Filmmaker Daniel Hayward on This is Roller Derby
[Thu 04/10/2012 02:58:07]
By Candace Wise
Stories can be found in the most unlikely places. When filmmaker Daniel Hayward went to watch a game of the all-female Roller Derby in his hometown of Reservoir, he found himself confronted by a ”bizarre” alternative sport in which female aggression and sexuality provide the entertainment.
“The film starts with misconceptions - I felt a bit funny asking, ’So are all the girls lesbians?’ and that sort of thing," Hayward says. "I didn’t want to come across like I just wanted to talk about tits and arse. I wanted to talk about how some of them really love to flaunt their sexuality, whether some of them didn’t, and if it was always up to them whether they wanted to dress up.
“Once I got to know the girls it was just like having a regular conversation with a friend. They were all pretty open, especially the American girls. They would rip out stuff you didn’t even ask that makes you blush and go ’Wow‘. But that’s Americans - they were really cool.”
Roller Derby was revived in Austin Texas back in 2001: an amateur-only sport, it focused on athleticism, community, sisterhood and, most of all, attitude. Currently there are over 1240 amateur all-female, co-ed, or male leagues skating flat-track and banked-track Roller Derby is in approximately forty countries around the world.
Hayward's This is Roller Derby is the first Australian documentary on derby to be released in cinemas and charts the explosion of roller derby in Australia. Through the film the audience is privy to a rare glimpse of an emerging sport through the pioneering leagues of Adelaide, Canberra, Geelong and Ballarat Roller Derbys. The film also visits the founding American leagues such as TXRD Lonestar Rollergirls and the Texas Rollergirls.
“I am a big sports fan,” says Hayward. He stumbled across derby ‘bouts’ in his hometown of Reservoir in suburban Melbourne. "The crowd is what freaked me out because you’ve got all these inner-city Collingwood, rockabilly types and you never see that kind of crew out in Reservoir."
Pretty soon Hayward was hooked on the sport and attending regular ‘bouts’ as a fan. But he quickly noticed the sport was changing as it grew. “I could tell I had been given a rare chance to see a sport before it went ‘pro’. I thought it would be great to document, before it became bigger and changed.”
Since the Adelaide Roller Derby’s formation in 2007, over 68 leagues have formed nationwide, making roller derby the fastest growing women’s sport in Australia. While most of the girls in the film have since retired from the sport, Hayward hopes the sport has a bright future.
"I hope they do rip it out in thirty years time and say, ’Wow. Look where it all started‘. In thirty years it’ll probably be in the Olympics. It might be televised, who knows? It’s just going to get bigger and bigger I think.”
This is Roller Derby is released on October 11. A full list of screenings can be found at Titan View.
[Thu 04/10/2012 02:58:07]