Interviews and reviews
D: Mark Woollen
The subjects of this compelling documentary are former roller derby stars from San Francisco's glory days of the Bay City Bombers, but the real subject of the film is the human desire to leave a mark on the world: in this case, the skidmarks of a skate wheel. The recent renewed interest in all-girl derbies has left the old-timers of the earlier co-ed games in the dust. Despite the loss of the crowds and epic bouts of internecine bickering, the skaters, now mostly in their 50s and 60s, live for a return to their former celebrity. The players fight indifference, damaged bodies, and the vagaries of the few willing promoters to recapture the brief moments when the crowd roared for them alone. Woolen, a veteran of cutting film trailers, shot seven years worth of footage and whittled it down to this compact feature. The film's tone shifts from the raucous to the sad to the indomitable as these broken-but-unbowed warhorses do their best to hang onto their dreams.
Jam received the Documentary Jury Award.