Smashers in mini-skirts on film
When director Monica De Alwis saw the smashes and bruises of New Zealand’s first roller derby club back in 2007 she set about trying to discover more about the women behind the fishnets and mini-skirts.
The premiere of the filmmaker’s first narrative documentary about this once underground sport, Pretty Brutal, is showing at Q theatre from today as part of the Documentary Edge Festival.
Skaters take on fearsome alter egos for the sport and the film follows Pieces of Hate, Kid Vile and Naki Kronik into the full-contact world of the Pirate City Rollers as they embark on their debut competitive season.
Roller derby is a fullcontact women’s roller sport that originated in Austin, Texas.
Pirate City is responsible for introducing the sport to New Zealand in 2006.
‘‘I saw the posters for this all-female, all-contact sport and I instantly wanted to know what kind of woman does this and what the appeal was of getting smashed by other women on roller skates,’’ Ms De Alwis says.
She immersed herself in their world and learned to shoot on skates before going on to skate for one competitive season.
‘‘I think from that point I started to get a better insight into what it was,’’ she says.
‘‘I had a lot of my own preconceptions about these women but I got drawn into it like many girls and got to go along with their ride.’’
The documentary has been selected to show at the Newport Beach Film Festival in Los Angeles and Ms De Alwis hopes it won’t stop there.
Pretty Brutal shows at Q theatre at 5pm today and again on April 15 at 12.30pm.
The documentary festival runs until April 21.
Pretty brutal: Film-maker Monica De Alwis immersed herself in the world of roller derby for her first narrative documentary following the Pirate City Rollers.