Reel Girl Talk x Girlfight
And now entering the ring … it’s Reel Girl Talk!
Yes, our discussion-based sister series (which debuted in September with 9 to 5) and talk of women in the workplace!) returned for the first official MUFF event of 2017. The topic this time around? Sports and the women who love it, whether that’s professionally or personally or a combo of both.
This event, which took place at the Imagine Carlton Cinemas on January 18, centred on a screening of Karyn Kusama’s remarkable debut film Girlfight, which follows a teenager named Diana (Michelle Rodriguez in her first major role!) who attempts to get into boxing despite pushback from her friends and family. So, naturally, we couldn’t help but kick off the evening with a MUFF Mix filled with fight songs and a themed photo booth featuring bright pink (!) gloves. (Can we just say that everyone looked like a knockout with these things on and “I Can Do Too” by Cole feat. Queen Latifah playing in the background??)
In addition to offering guests a chance to take a few shots (he he!) in front of our sparkly backdrop, we also set up a few booths to highlight this month’s guests and partners. Panelist Steph “Iron Lioness” Dykstra was on hand to promote Iron Lion Training Inc. alongside co-owner Ron Dykstra. Meanwhile, moderator Mackenzie Duffy was also available chat about WiSE Talk, a one-day conference to empower and encourage high school girls to explore a career in the sport media industry. (Mackenzie created this alongside some fellow fourth-year Ryerson University students, including Selina Da Silva, who was also at the booth!)
Oh, and we can’t forget about Hannah Jong, who came out on behalf of Reel Girls Toronto, our new Community Partner on RGT! In addition to the whole similar name thing, we love Reel Girls Toronto for their profiles on young women in creative industries. (Check them out on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Wordpress!)
After this lobby fun, we headed to the theatre, where MUFF producer Lisa and RGT producer Emily said a few words and explained why this film was a MUFF must. We also had a few amazing prizes to giveaway including a special training package from Iron Lion, a swag bag from WiSE, a few copies of Karyn’s latest film (The Invitation, courtesy of Unobstructed View Inc.), and one copy of Molly Schiot's book Game Changers: The Unsung Heroines of Sports History (courtesy of Simon & Schuster Canada).
The screening itself was pretty awesome, with the audience really getting engaged with Diana’s journey, especially the scenes of her literally and figuratively battling varying levels of adversity. We could help but want to pump our fists watching Diana rock her final fight, even if she had to go up against (small sigh) her boyfriend.
The boyfriend thing was just one topic that came up during our discussion portion, where Mackenzie asked Steph — who, in addition to running Iron Lion Training Inc., is a boxer, power lifter and martial arts coach! — how the film compares to her own experiences and what she might like to change about the film to make it more reflective. While Steph explained that she thought the film was generally “great” and relatable, she also admitted she could have done without the “love story”, including that final fight.
“I would love to see her fight the Southpaw that she fought again,” she explained. “That’s Alicia Ashley. She’s 50 now and she’s in the Guinness Book of World Records for being the oldest champion. But have you heard her name before?”
“Everybody knows B. Hoff — Bernard Hopkins — is. He was a champion at 47 and we heard all about how awesome he was …. but this woman is incredible.”
If you weren’t able to make it to RGT: Girlfight, you can watch the entire discussion featuring Mackenzie and Steph on YouTube. (Don’t miss Steph’s boxing film suggestions, including T-Rex, a remarkable documentary about an athlete from Flint, Michigan who became the first woman in history to win an Olympic gold medal for boxing!)
Big thank you to both Steph and Mackenzie for their critical takes on Girlfight, and to Reel Girls Toronto for helping us organize their discussion. As we move forward with this series, we hope to have similarly engaging and poignant discussions between women of varying age groups, backgrounds and experiences. Speaking of which …
While RGT, like fellow MUFF spinoff HER-STORY, is traditionally meant to take place every few months, we are adding a bonus RGT event to the schedule this February in honour of Black History Month. We’ll have our traditional MUFF screening (Buffy the Vampire Slayer for Women in Horror Month!) on February 8, and then follow it with RGT: Dear White People on February 22.
ICYMI, Dear White People (produced by the awesome Effie Brown, as well as Ann Le, Julia Lebedev and Lena Waithe!) is an awesome satirical comedy lead by Tessa Thompson and following a film production student who fights against the racism running rampant at her Ivy League school. We’ll be following our screening of this film with a discussion featuring local black female creators (we’re talking from film to podcasts to spoken word!). Stay tuned for the FB event, which will be popping up on your feed very, very soon!