Vancouver film festival tackles discrimination in sport
Sexism, racism and homophobia in sport will all be examined at upcoming film events in Vancouver organised to coincide with the ongoing Winter Olympics.
The Vancouver Queer Film Festival and PRIDE House, the first LGBT space at an Olympic Games, are teaming up to present a two-night film series that will be hosted by 1992 Olympic gold medallist and gay activist Mark Tewksbury.
“The main objective in my mind with the film selection is to increase queer visibility in sport across the board while the world is in town here,” organizer Ross Johnstone of the VQFF said.
The Canadian Association for the Advancement of Women in Sport will present the first of the two evenings, which includes two films and a panel discussion.
The first film, a short documentary called “A Knock Out”, profiles an out-lesbian European boxer who achieved great success until she refused to pose naked for magazines and was deemed unmarketable.
It will be followed by Training Rules, a documentary about how an American women’s basketball coach affected players with her “no lesbians” policy.
“The film itself is…a graphic representation of homophobia in sport and how deep the effects run through the actual individual lives of the athletes, not just on a professional career level, but just in a sense of their own identities and realities,” Johnstone explained.
A second evening of films and discussion on Thursday will address human rights. The half-hour documentary “Claiming the Title: Gay Olympics on Trial” focuses on how the Gay Olympics (renamed the Gay Games in 1982) were sued in the ’80s for using the word “Olympics”, even though other events like the Special Olympics had also used it.
“Back then, this was really the first time the Olympics were making these types of legislation or rulings, and they had never made it a point until the Gay Games adopted it,” Johnstone said.
The Vancouver premiere of Beyond Gay: The Politics of Pride will follow. In the film, Vancouver Pride Society president Ken Coolen attends pride parades around the world, including some in countries where supporters have faced violence, resistance, and oppression.
The same night, DOXA Documentary Film Festival is presenting Salute, the final film in its Motion Picture Film Series.
This Australian documentary reveals the story of what happened when two African-American athletes silently raised black-gloved fists in support of the civil rights movement on the award podium at the 1968 Summer Olympics.
The third athlete, Caucasian Australian Peter Norman, wore an Olympic Project for Human Rights badge in solidarity. All three faced punishment from Olympic organizations.