FEMINIST FRIDAY: Indigenous Female Boxers, Ethiopian Girl Runners & Refugee Olympic Hopefuls

Still from ‘Blackfeet Boxing’ | Image via Big Sky Film Festival

Welcome to another edition of Feminist Friday! That time of the week where we share 3 of our fave videos of the moment, centered around an intersectional feminist theme. This week we are showcasing three documentaries that focus on the lives of women and girls of color, tackling various issues in their lives including violence and immigration, while also competing in typically male-dominated arenas.

First up is a short documentary film from Kristen Lappas and Tom Rinaldi called ‘Blackfeet Boxing’, which initially aired on ESPN on June 30. The story follows trainer Frank Kipp who opened the Blackfeet Boxing Club in 2003. Since then, he’s trained more than 500 boxers on the reservation. Its most important fighters are the young women who come in search of more than a heavy bag. ‘Blackfeet Boxing’ is a film about fighting—for respect, identity and acknowledgment. There are no scorecards or knockouts. In a state where 73 indigenous women were missing or murdered in the previous two years, the prize at the Blackfeet Boxing Club is far more vital: survival. Watch the trailer below:

The second trailer is for another short film, centered around sports with a focus on the stories of young women. ‘Bekoji 100’ was made by co-directors Alastair Wilson and Julia Hanlon, and premiered at the flagship No Man’s Land festival in Colorado, March 2020.

The Bekoji 100 short film explores the stories of Desta and Zabu, two adolescent female runners from Bekoji, Ethiopia who are supported by the Girls Gotta Run Foundation (GGRF). As they embark on completing the first-ever 100 mile, ultra relay race across Ethiopia alongside international runners and their GGRF teammates, they share their athletic ambitions and the trials they face as young women in their society.

As reported by Runningmagazine.ca, Bekoji is described as a “running mecca that has produced 18 Olympic medals. And although the title of the film indicates an athletic these, it is hardly the focus, writes Ben Snider-McGrath. “Instead, viewers are shown how running can help these young girls grow, not only into successful runners, but into independent and strong women.”

You can watch the full 14 minute film at the Girls Gotta Run Foundation website here, and watch two short clips from the film below:

The final trailer this week is for a 5-part docu-serie about refugee Olympic hopefuls, titled ‘Taking Refuge’. Produced exclusively for the Olympic Channel by Vice Media, it follows three refugees working to qualify for the upcoming Olympics. It follows three-time Olympic gold medallist Niccolo Campriani as he coaches three refugees in the hopes of qualifying for the Tokyo 2021 Olympic Games in the 10 meter air rifle event. Olympic hopefuls Mahdi, Khaoula and Luna have set a goal to reach the Minimum Qualifying Score (MQS) in order to become eligible for the Tokyo Olympic Games.

Niccolo retired after the Rio games in 2016, and after visiting an African refugee camp with the UNHCR following his retirement, was moved to take action in light of the refugee crisis that has been growing across the globe.

“Sport is made of stories, not medals. Some of them are legendary, some are drama, and some others don’t have the happy ending that one would expect. ‘Taking Refuge’ is a story of hope, a story that combines the sport challenge of qualifying for the Olympic Games in less than 1,000 days with the inspirational determination of a group of refugees,” said Niccolo in a statement shared by Realscreen. Watch the trailer below:

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