It’s been almost a year since I started making a documentary about how one of the fastest growing sports is taking off in Winnipeg.
Here is a trailer for Together We Roll:
With qualities that make it unlike any other game that we play or watch, it’s easy to see why roller derby is gaining such a large fan base. I’ve attended Winnipeg Roller Derby League (WRDL) games for a few years now. From the start, I instantly fell in love with the sport.
Together We Roll is a short documentary (10 minutes) covering a number of topics related to derby and what makes it different than most other sports. These include how derby is played, its all-inclusive nature, and the challenges players face.
Roller derby is a contact sport with two teams of five members skating in the same direction around the track. A designated player, known as the “jammer”, scores points by passing members of the opposing team. Other teammates, known as “blockers”, aim to assist their jammer, while making it more difficult for the opposing team’s jammer.
After writing an article about the sport last year for The Projector, Red River College’s student-run newspaper, I thought about doing something on the Derby League for my Independent Professional Project (IPP).
As part of Red River College’s Creative Communications program, students must complete an IPP during their second school year. You can read about my experience here.
When I approached WRDL about doing my IPP project with them, they suggested creating a short documentary about the sport. But, the idea was, instead of doing the usual reality-TV-style drama that may exist between players that many other derby documentaries focus on, this would examine the challenges the sport provides and the more positive aspects of derby.
It’s been almost a year since I started filming last spring for Together We Roll. I feel lucky to be given the chance to work on this project with the WRDL, and to have heard the stories of the ten amazing women I interviewed for this project.
A quote which came up often during interviews were the words of California roller derby player and coach, Bonnie D. Stroir: “Most seem to find roller derby in transitional periods…We ruin our bodies to save our souls and for some reason that makes perfect sense.”
Together We Roll reveals how women often join derby because they are looking for something more in their lives. Through roller derby they find a fun, healthy, all-inclusive activity, but more importantly, a stronger sense of self and a truly supportive community.