Queens of Pain – a 75-minute documentary by co-directors Cassie Hay and Amy Winston -- kicks off the Brooklyn Film Festival (BFF) tomorrow with an intimate look at the lives of three New York roller derby players.
Winston and Hay, sisters who grew up in rural Texas, hatched the idea for the film shortly after the ‘Me Too’ movement emerged, said Winston.
“We were angry, and bummed out,” said Winston. “We wanted there to be more stories about women uplifting other women and supporting each other, and I said, ‘Cassie, you played roller derby – these women are badass, and that’s it.’”
While Winston has never played derby herself, Hay – a documentary filmmaker by trade – knows the sport intimately. A former skater for Gotham Girls – New York’s derby league, and one of the premier derby leagues in the world – she wanted to bring much-needed exposure to a sport that consists of 450 leagues across six continents.
“Are women’s sports niche because they haven’t had the exposure and the same attention that men’s sports have?” said Hay. “So that’s kind of something that we are hoping the film does, which is give the sport more exposure. Because these women are real athletes.”
Viewers are led through the world of roller derby by three different skaters, each of different experience levels. Suzy Hotrod (her derby name) is a globally known skater, and the longest-playing skater in the league.