One morning during the first week of March, Facebook was flooded with links to the trailer for a new roller derby documentary, Together We Roll. Written and directed by Eden Ramsay, the 10 minute documentary focuses on the Winnipeg Roller Derby League and ten of their skaters.
Eden Ramsay is a student in her final year of Creative Communications at Red River College in Winnipeg. Introduced to roller derby by a friend, she started attending games in 2010. When she started planning her professional project for her final year, Ramsay approached WRDL to see if she could produce a promotional video for the league; they suggested a documentary.
Ramsay watched Hell on Wheels and Blood on the Flat Track before filming began, and, like the league, decided to focus more on the athleticism and less of the politics, to try and stay away from the “reality show” dynamic. She filmed bouts during WRDL’s 2013 Summer Series and conducted interviews with ten skaters during the winter.
“We wanted a fresh approach, and we really appreciated Eden’s openness. For me personally working with a woman creative artist dovetailed nicely into derby’s female focused strengths,” says Bess Hamilton (aka Pocket Rockette), Winnipeg Roller Derby League’s media rep.
Serenity Ising (aka Retro Rx) agrees. “I was honoured to be selected for an interview. Derby has consumed my entire life since I started 5 years ago and with 4 kids, a full-time job, and a hubby, and being old I bring something different to it than others like (Sourpuss Slasher) or (Frosty Peaches). I was happy the documentary wanted many perspectives.”
“We won the lottery with Eden. We think the film does a really good job of highlighting how seriously we take the sport. If I didn’t play, I would watch it and want to play,” jokes Hamilton.
“The main message is community and the relationships everyone builds (…) It becomes who they are,” Ramsay continues, “Meeting these ten amazing women was the best part of doing the documentary.” She goes on to quote 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.”
“I was never a sporty person, but I love the culture and the inclusive nature (of roller derby)” Ramsay says. Topics covered run from body image, the LGBT community, derby/life balance, the variety of ages and recovering from injuries.
Ramsay was surprised by some of the stories she was told by skaters who had recovered from injuries and also by “how much time it takes out of its players lives. Between practices, planning, volunteering, and events it seems like there’s often little time for anything else. Players commit a lot of themselves to the sport compared to other sports (…) It’s just another thing that players deal with because they love the sport and the community that comes with it.”
Screening is in the works, and Together We Roll will be available online through http://winnipegrollerderby.com/ and the WRDL YouTube channel after the screening. Stay tuned to Derby Frontier for details!
Her debut article on Derby Frontier!!!