Derby Baby: A Story of Love, Addiction and Rink Rash, the long-awaited roller derby documentary from Denver-based filmmakers Robin Bond and Dave Wruck, will get its local premiere on June 16 at the Denver FilmCenter with screenings at 2:30, 5 and 7:30 p.m., all presented by both the Rocky Mountain Rollergirls and the Denver Roller Dolls. The local leagues are featured prominently in the film, which also explores the recent national and international growth of the sport; their role as co-presenters of the Derby Baby screenings will be a rare break from their long rivalry.
On Saturday at the 1STBANK Center, DRD's Mile High Club beat RMRG's 5280 Fight Club 169-145, DRD's Bruising Altitude beat RMRG's Contenders 120-108, and RMRG's junior squad the Rocky Mountain Rollerpunks creamed DRD's Glitterdome Gladiators 134-4 -- so it's nice to see there are no hard feelings.
"Everybody's looking forward to seeing it," says RMRG spokeswoman PJ Shields, aka Dangerous Leigh A'zon. "The Derby Baby project started here in Denver and there's been tremendous support of the film from the roller-derby community because of its reputation for giving a fair and comprehensive portrayal of our sport."
Shields is interviewed in the documentary (as are several skaters from both RMRG and DRD) and the junior team she coaches, the Rocky Mountain Rollerpunks, is featured in the film.
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Derby Baby got its world premiere at the Atlanta Film Festival in March, and will soon be screening in cities around the world thanks to a hugely successful Kickstarter campaign that ends tomorrow, May 22, just before midnight. The filmmakers have raised $54,246 as of mid-day, well above their initial $30,000 ask, with many of their supporters representing roller-derby leagues that pledged $350 or more for the right to hold screenings of the film.
"It's been exciting and I think we've been pleasantly surprised," says Robin Bond. "We didn't even know if we would make our goal just because this is a very bootstrapped community. This is truly a crowd-funded film and it's a testament to what's been happening in the derby community, which is what the film is all about in the first place. It's an honor and a thrill that so many roller-derby leagues are eager to show this film to their fans and in their communities. I wish that Dave and I could be in the audience to see how it's received in places like Australia or Sweden, where it will be screening, to see how non-American audiences embrace it. It will be exciting to see if it has the same draw as it does right in our own back yard, but we're also really, really excited to be showing our film here in Denver."
For more on Derby Baby, check out the May 2011 Westword Show and Tell interview with director Robin Bond.