Best screening with respect to audience energy at this year's SIFF - not even a close contest. The documentary follows a Seattle area startup women's roller derby league over a two year period. The league (Rat City Roller Girls) is made up of what appears to be in the neighborhood of 100 skaters distributed across several teams. The sport is both serious full contact athleticism coupled with a lot op showmanship. Flashy costumes, great team (Grave Danger, SockIt Wenches, etc.) and player names (Tash-ya 'Round, Bruise Lee, Elle Incarnate, Drew Blood, etc.). The "Flat Track" is a reference to the fact that most of these new roller derby leagues are based on a flat surface in comparison with earlier leagues that used a banked track. Such tracks mean an extra hurdle of having to buy one to start a league. The decision to play on a flat surface makes the current wave of do-it-yourself teams possible.
The energy in the theater was HUGE with what appeared to be the entire league in attendance for this flick. It was a lot of fun to watch all around. It's a very lively, attractive and slightly dangerous looking group. :-) A thing that struck me after the film was how fundamentally if differed from one about a male full contact sport. I can't recall a movie of that sort where every participant comes across as very nice and friendly off the field. These woman are beating the daylights out of each other for sport but none of them seem like they're doing it from a negative place. Watching the players in the theater before the film just reinforced this view. I'm sure there are exceptions but it really is striking when contrasted with other male dominated sports films.
Sadly, I'm guessing they won't be coming to every screening to scream and cheer each frame. That's definitely going to detract from your experience. I think there's some great material in the film. But I think the film could use was a little bit more in the way of teaching. There's a quick and well done intro to how the sport is played. However, it doesn't do as much as might be possible to explain what you're watching in all the following bout footage. I had a fun time at the screening which definitely taught me about a sport I really knew little about before. I've also got a good guess as to the Golden Space Needle award winner - especially if all the players decide to attend the second screening too. (http://www.ratcityrollergirls.com/)