In recent years, one of the aims of our film programme has been to introduce our audience to some of independent cinema’s most interesting characters and inspiring individuals. With our next Minicine at The Mills film season we’ve taken a slightly different approach and during the months of April, May and June we will be showcasing some of the most inspiring, and aspiring, communities from around the world.
There’s No ‘I’ In Team Season is a collection of documentaries that highlight the ways in which sports can help strengthen communities as well as the individual. In an age when many professional sports value profit over passion and marketability over skill, this season serves as a reminder of why athletes compete in the first place; a passion to play, to perform and to prove one’s worth – and not in the monetary sense.
First up, Jerry Rothwell’s Town of Runners (2012) takes us to Bekoji – an Ethiopian highland town which has produced some of the world’s greatest distance athletes, including Tirunesh Dibaba, Kenenisa Bekele and Derartu Tulu. Trained by ‘Coach’ Sentayehu Eshetu, Bekoji’s running prospects are put through their paces and trained to work as a team, respect each other, and honour their homeland.
For the young prodigies in Town of Runners, running not only offers a chance of success but also an opportunity of escape from the poverty that surrounds them. In one scene a 14-year-old girl breaks down at the thought of the uncertainties she faces in staying in the village.
Hell On Wheels (2007) chronicles the recent resurgence in American roller derby’s popularity and showcases the Texas women who have banded together to resurrect the sport in the 21st century. Emerging from the Austin music and arts scene, these women have created a rock-n-roll fueled version of all-girl roller derby that has spawned a craze and a movement that’s wheelin’ it’s way across the world.
Shot over a four year period and utilizing both verite footage and interviews, Bob Ray’s film observes a rift fueled by issues of insurance, finances, and the direction the league should take, disenchanted skaters pull together and collectively bring their grievances to management. Accusations fly, and emotions run high as the two camps face off.
And finally we have Next Goal Wins (2014). Football, or soccer if you must, may be the most popular sport in the world but in 2012 the American Samoan national team were it’s biggest losers. Literally. In 2001, American Samoa suffered the biggest defeat in international football history when they lost 31-0 to Australia and for the following decade failed to win a single game.
British directors Mike Brett and Steve Jamison were given permission to document the team’s effort to qualify for the 2014 FIFA World Cup because they aimed to celebrate the fact that the team continued to play in the face of their defeats. It’s this ‘never surrender’ attitude that made Next Goal Wins‘ inclusion in our There’s No I In Team season a must.
Town of Runners screens at The Palace Picturehouse in Armley Mills on Thursday 16 April at 7PM. Tickets for all our There’s No ‘I’ In Team Season screenings are available now from our online ticket office. Tickets are £5 but purchase a Season Pass and you can enjoy all three titles for only £12.