Smash­ers in mini-skirts on film

Auckland City Harbour News - - NEWS - By JESS LEE

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.

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