Winning Girl

From award-winning Hawaiian filmmaker Kimberlee Bassford (PATSY MINK: AHEAD OF THE MAJORITY) comes WINNING GIRL, an inspirational film that follows the four-year journey of Teshya Alo, a part-Polynesian, teenage judo and wrestling phenomenon from Hawai‘i. Teshya is only 16 years old and 125 pounds, but on the judo and wrestling mats, she dominates women twice her age and pounds heavier! Now Alo has her sights set on taking the Olympic gold at both the judo and wrestling world championships - and in doing so would be the first to accomplish that feat. WINNING GIRL tells the dynamic story of an elite athlete on her ascent, a girl facing the challenges of puberty and growing up with an entire family dedicated to a single dream. A great companion piece to any discussion on Title IX and gender.
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Derby Crazy Love

The latest documentary from Toronto filmmakers Maya Gallus and Justine Pimlott takes viewers inside the adrenaline-fueled phenomenon of women’s roller derby. With over 1,400 leagues worldwide, it is now the fastest growing women’s sport. DERBY CRAZY LOVE accompanies Montreal’s top team, New Skids on the Block, on its exhilarating journey to regional championships, where they face off in a pitched battle against U.K. powerhouse, London Rollergirls, and reigning world champions, New York’s Gotham Girls. New Skids players and their British and U.S. rivals share stories of being powerful women in traditional sports, along with insights about derby’s recent rebirth, after decades of decline, as a vibrant, original expression of third wave feminism and Amazon-like physicality rooted in punk’s colorful DIY counterculture. Deftly tackling issues of masculinity, femininity, aggression, body image, queer identity and gender norms, this fast-paced yet reflective film captures the spirit of community, inclusiveness, and sisterhood at roller derby’s core today.
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Light Fly, Fly High

Thulasi, a young Indian woman in her twenties, is literally willing to box her way out of poverty and into a better life. A Dalit or “untouchable” born outside of caste, she rejected her place on society’s lowest rung at an early age and was forced to leave her parents’ home when only 14. Ten years later, despite her impressive record in the ring, ranking 3rd in India’s Light Fly category, Thulasi remains stuck at the bottom, deprived of opportunities she rightly deserves. Despite an uphill battle against sexual harassment, poverty and the pressure to marry, Thulasi refuses to compromise herself and her goals and takes her destiny into her own hands. Filmed during three eventful years, LIGHT FLY, FLY HIGH is a beautifully shot, gripping and inspirational story of a courageous young woman who refuses to be anyone’s victim and ends up a hero of her own making against all odds.
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Ella es el Matador (She is the Matador)

For Spaniards—and for the world—nothing has expressed their country’s traditionally rigid gender roles more powerfully than the image of the male matador. So sacred was the bullfighter’s masculinity to Spanish identity that a 1908 law barred women from the sport. Visually stunning and beautifully crafted, ELLA ES EL MATADOR (She is the Matador) reveals the surprising history of the women who made such a law necessary, and offers fascinating profiles of two female matadors currently in the arena, the acclaimed Maripaz Vega and neophyte Eva Florencia. These women are gender pioneers by necessity, confronting both bull and social code. But what emerges through this mesmerizing film is their truest motivation—a sheer passion for bullfighting, in the pursuit of a dream.
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Patsy Mink: Ahead of the Majority

In 1965, Patsy Takemoto Mink became the first woman of color in the United States Congress. Seven years later, she ran for the US presidency and was the driving force behind Title IX, the landmark legislation that transformed women’s opportunities in higher education and athletics. Mink was an Asian American woman who fought racism and sexism while redefining US politics. Her tumultuous, often lonely political journey reveals what can be at stake for female politicians that defy expectations, push limits and adhere to their principles. Mink encountered sexism within her own party, whose leaders disliked her independent style and openly maneuvered against her. And her liberal views, particularly her vocal opposition to the Vietnam War, engendered intense criticism. A compelling portrait of an iconoclastic figure that remains seldom spotlighted in history books, this film illuminates how Mink’s daring to remain “ahead of the majority” in her beliefs enabled groundbreaking changes for the rights of the disenfranchised. A woman of the people as well as a pioneer, a patriot and an outcast, Patsy Mink’s intriguing story embodies the history, ideals and spirit of America.
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License to Thrive: Title IX at 35

“No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.” In June of 1972, Congress passed a piece of legislation called Title IX of the Education Amendments, to provide educational access and opportunity for women and young girls throughout the United States. Although most closely associated with sports, no other piece of legislation since the 19th Amendment has been more crucial to opening doors and creating leadership opportunities for women in all arenas including education, science, math, finance, entertainment, the arts, business, law, and politics. License to Thrive: Title IX at 35 is a smart and highly-entertaining exploration of the unique history of the Title IX legislation and its critical role over the past 35 years in creating female leaders. From the classroom to the boardroom to the courtroom to the green room to the locker room, women are making their mark via the impact of Title IX.
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A Knock Out

Boxing champion Michele Aboro grew up in South London, where life for a girl was never easy, let alone for a mixed-race lesbian girl. Thanks to her tenacious spirit and an uncanny talent for combat sports, she put her difficult past behind her and managed to sign a contract with the biggest boxing promoter in Europe. She won all 21 fights, 18 of them with a knockout - an exceptional achievement in women’s boxing. But despite her spectacular record in the ring, her career came to a sudden halt when her promoter broke her contract under the belief that she was not "promotable." Refusing to vamp up her image and pose naked in magazines, this undefeated world champion was abandoned by an industry more interested in selling sex than sport. A KNOCK OUT interweaves Aboro’s personal story with interviews with boxers whose wild success strikes a painful contrast with Aboro's struggles. Searching for logic behind Aboro’s case, this poignant documentary captures a universal story of fighting for one's identity and offers a probing look at the intersection of gender, ethnicity, sexuality and the increased commercialization of women's sports.
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Buoyant

Julie Wyman’s ebullient experimental documentary intertwines the story of the Padded Lilies, a troupe of fat synchronized swimmers, Archimedes, the Greek mathematician obsessed with floating bodies, and the inventor of the “Drystroke Swimulator” to investigate, proclaim and celebrate the fact that fat floats! As the Padded Lillies prepare for their appearance on "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno", BUOYANT follows their rigorous training and strategizing as they promote their message of body-acceptance, fat-empowerment, and fitness at any size. A school-marmish voiceover moves on to tell the story of Archimedes, classical Greek mathematician and discoverer of pi, as he tackles one of his more difficult problems: how to measure the volume of an irregularly shaped object. The final vignette, performed by Wyman herself, captures the trials and tribulations of the inventor at work on the “Drystroke Swimulator” (patent pending) -- a contraption designed to allow its user to swim outside of water. Giddy and irreverent, moving fluidly between color and black and white, video and film, handheld and locked-down camera styles, Buoyant draws attention to its own surface and leaves us with the exuberant possibility of a fat body that literally and culturally rises, like cream, to the top.
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Girl Wrestler

GIRL WRESTLER follows 13-year-old Tara Neal, a Texas teenager who upsets traditional expectations by insisting that girls and boys should be able to wrestle on the same mat. Zander follows Tara through a crucial period in her wrestling career—the last year that she is allowed to wrestle boys under state guidelines. When Tara enters high school, her opportunities to compete will virtually disappear because so few girls wrestle. Over the course of the season, she deals with family conflicts, pressures to cut weight and fierce policy debates over Title IX. Tara represents a modern kind of girlhood, one that physically embodies feminism by literally placing girls into grappling competition with boys. This eye-opening film shows us how the gender roles we have constructed affect real adolescents as they crash against the boundaries of those norms. Ultimately, Tara’s story is a direct and immediate chronicle of such broader cultural issues as the social construction of masculinity and femininity, athleticism and eating disorders, gender discrimination in organized athletics, and the meaning and value of sport in American culture.
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