Sunday, May 13, 2012

DERBY, BABY by Pamela Powell

DERBY, BABY is hitting screens in a completely different and creative way!  DERBY, BABY can hit YOUR tv screen or your home town theater's screen with a simple donation.  From $25 on up, you can have the DVD to enjoy with your friends in the privacy of your own home!  Pretty cool!  Go to for more information!

Veteran documentary filmmakers Robin Bond and Dave Wruck have teamed up to give us insight about the world's fastest growing women's sport, Flat Track Roller Derby.  I must admit that other than what I saw in the movie WHIP IT, I didn't really know it existed.  Bond and Wruck have seamlessly sown together all the pieces of the Derby fabric to give you a complete picture from the sport's inception, apparent death, and reincarnation.  To round out the film, one of the stars from WHIP IT, Juliette Lewis, narrated the piece.  By the end of the film, I wanted to find out how to see my local Chicago team play!  The movie energized and educated the viewer all at the same time.

Roller Derby has gone through major changes since its first appearance in the 1930's.  Originally, the sport was comprised of both men and women, but is now solely women. The rules are relatively simple, but a tutorial is helpful as there is no "ball" per se, in this sport.  Once you get the gist of it, it's an unbelievably fast-paced and skillful game!  These women are tough.  I compete in triathlons and other races like the Mudathlon and you couldn't pay me to go up against any of these women on the track!  They are athletic, coordinated, and strong.  The level of dedication to participate in this sport is impressive and wonderfully portrayed in DERBY, BABY.

Flat Track Roller Derby is an all volunteer organization.  Most of these women have full-time jobs and responsibilities, but love the sport so much that they not only play but they help to run it.  The film highlights various athletes ranging from a high school biology teacher to soccer moms and anything in between.  The backgrounds, educational levels, and former athletic training runs the gamut.  What is the common thread here is the need to be a part of a group and to compete.  The level of comaraderie is what I think every woman needs and wants in her life.  This film accentuates that with the interviews.

The filmmakers take a look at the negatives that surround the perception of Flat Track Roller Derby as well.  One of the interviewees compares the sport to the entertainment value with the names and costumes to Wrestling and the high paced action to soccer or hockey.  They question whether or not the sport will ever be legitimized with the entertaining names like Ginger Vitis and Heavy Flo and the costumes and makeup to match.  How can the general population take it seriously?  As it is the fastest growing sport, has it reached a point that sponsorship and leadership from major corporations will need to step in to bring it to the next level? And how will it change Flat Track Roller Derby?  The documentary looks at this and we hear the participants and fans reactions to the possible changes in the future.

DERBY, BABY is an exciting and insightful look at the sport of Flat Track Roller Derby.  I was intrigued because it is an all woman's sport and would love to see this in action myself.  The movie is worth the purchase whether you participate in sports or just an observer.  In fact, I thought it would be a lot of fun to host a party at my house to view and then go see the sport in person!  Sounds like fun to me!  Anyone up for a night out?

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