Wonder Women

Director Chip Mabry’s documentary portrait of Portland’s Rose City Rollers won best in show at both the Crossroads Film Festival and the Indie Spirit Film Festival this year, and the Brutal Beauty film tour has been selling out in theaters across the country. Despite his film’s success, though, Mabry says tonight’s screenings will be bittersweet: Denver is where his film’s epic arc came crashing down. “The bout against the Rocky Mountain Rollergirls at the 2009 Women’s Flat Track Derby Association Western Regionals ended up being the climax of my film,” Mabry says. “They broke my heart by beating our girls.”

Mabry, best known for his Portland skateboard-scene documentary Rip City, spent eight months as an embedded reporter with the Rose City Rollers, an experience he likens to covering a war on Wonder Woman’s Amazonian island.

“These women own their bodies, their actions, their voices, and every aspect of their sport. I’ve been told it’s the biggest women’s movement since suffrage, and it’s the second-fastest-growing sport in America after mixed martial arts. When I started filming, most of the teams were competing in high school gyms. Now they’re skating in big arenas. These women are so badass, you can’t help but get wrapped up in the excitement.”

Brutal Beauty screens tonight at Starz FilmCenter at 5:15, 7:30 and 9:45 p.m., with Mabry in attendance; additional showings take place tomorrow and Sunday. Starz is in the Tivoli building on the Auraria campus; tickets are $7 to $9.75. For more information, go to www.denverfilm.org.
Oct. 29-31, 2010

 
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