A LEVEL PLAYING FIELD: EVENING OF SHORT FILMS
We' put on an evening centred around the exploration of women and non-binary people's experience of 'the beautiful game' and the wider world of sport.
Dir. Ian Derry / 3m47 /
After a biking accident, Finnish freediver Johanna Nordblad nearly lost her leg to necrosis. As part of her treatment, she began free diving under the freezing Arctic ice. The pain was agony when she first started; now she holds a world record for the sport she grew to love. British director Ian Derry joined her on a dive in this short documentary for an experience he describes as "literally breathtaking.”
THEY CALL ME SUAREZ
Dirs. Adwoa Aboah & Felix Cooper / 3m58 /
Born out of a trip made by model Adwoa Aboah and photographer Felix Cooper, THEY CALL ME SUAREZ documents the strength and determination of young women in the world’s largest refugee camp - “All is forgotten on the pitch. Dedication to the game prevails. Many come without families. They are vulnerable, but they are determined.”
Betty is a 17 year old South Sudanese refugee. Having fled the conflicts in her country, she arrived across the border into Uganda, where we find her. It is here, in this community of displaced people, that she started her football team. “They Call Me Suarez” examines the life of a teenage girl, determined to rise up from her circumstances. It is a story of hope in the face of adversity, strength in determination, a reflection of the power of football and the importance of community. But most of all, it is a portrait of a young woman, who’s future only holds potential.
Dir. Sarah Menzies / Let Media / 11m06 /
Ultra-runners overcome obstacles with every stride. Force of Nature Mirna Valerio never thought she would have to overcome the negative voices that believe she doesn't belong in the sport.
Teacher, blogger and mom Mirna is an endurance runner whose weekends are packed with marathons, 50Ks and other races. But she doesn’t fit into the typical mold of ultra-runner; Mirna is black, and she’s not stick thin. Which means that along with being a runner, she is a great stereotype exploder. It can be a harsh world of cruel internet trolls and insensitive competitors, but where others might relent, Mirna keeps her head up. She chooses to focus instead on the freedom, joy and feeling of accomplishment. As she puts it, “my body got this.”
IN THE RING WITH A MUSLIM MUAY THAI FIGHTER
Dirs. James Callum & Paula Haydock / Great Big Story + Too Much Films / 5m20/
Not only is Ruqsana Begum one of the best Muay Thai fighters in the world—she’s the only Muslim woman to hold a national kickboxing championship title. She started boxing at the age of 18 and trained in secret for years, fearing that her family wouldn’t approve of her participation in a male-dominated sport. Now, there’s nothing holding her back.
Dir. Cedar Wright / 25m00 /
“I don’t want to be good for a girl, I don’t want to be good for just having one hand, I just want to be good, period.” That’s climber Maureen Beck. Born without her lower left arm, Beck scales overhanging boulders, takes whippers off of 5.12s and wins competitions. But she’s not here to be a role model, shrugging off the clichéd coverage of disabled athletes. “We don’t climb to be special, we don’t climb to win some silly awards. We climb because we love climbing just like everybody else.” Fueled by that love, Beck tackles an ambitious goal. What unfolds is a lesson in pure grit.
Dir. Lacy Kemp / Artist. Micayla Gatto / 4m20 /
Mountain biker Micayla Gatto takes the viewer into her world as a painter and as an athlete, riding through beautifully created masterpieces where colours come to life and reality blends with art.
When we're younger we're all given the motivation to dream to be anything in the world. We think of things like a doctor, astronaut, veterinarian or movie star. We are told we can be whatever we want to be if we just put our minds to it. For Micayla Gatto, being one thing wasn't ever enough. She wanted to be an athlete, but she was coming into her own as a talented artist. Melding the two has become her passion, and finding the intersection of art and sport has become a lifestyle.
THE SWIMMING CLUB
Dirs. Cecilia Golding & Nick Finegan / 9m27
If you happen to be transgender and you want to go swimming, which changing room do you go into? THE SWIMMING CLUB follows participants at Tags (‘Trans and Gender non-conforming Swimmers’ Group) in London, who have taken matters into their own hands and set up a safe space swimming club. It is a film about the healing effects of community and the relief that comes after taking the bravest plunge of all - to just be yourself. It is also an ode to universal joys of swimming.
EQUAL PLAYING FIELD: THE MOUNTAIN
Dir. Ben Jacobs / 59m52 /
The highest altitude game of football. Of any gender. Ever.
Achieving gender equality is a daily challenge, and one which is embodied by many metaphors. 'A long journey', or 'a balancing of the scales'. How about 'climbing a mountain'? In 2017, The Equal Playing Field (EPF) Initiative took this particular analogy and made it come to life.
On Saturday 24 June, two teams of female football players from more than 20 countries climbed to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro to play a full 90 minute match at an altitude of 5729 metres. The film follows these extraordinary athletes in their world-record breaking ascent to lung-busting heights, all in name of promoting sports development for girls and women globally.