Telling women’s stories

Danielle Sellwood // March 8 2018

When we approached GB Short Track Speed Skating to make a film about their attempt to qualify a first women's relay team at a Winter Olympics, there was much discussion about what we'd do if they didn't make it. Some felt that that there would be no story to tell, others that we should change the film to showcase those that did qualify. We however, committed to tell the story however it ended, we wanted an authentic story, but most of all we wanted it to be the teams’ story, told in their own words.

To show how hard the athletes work behind the scenes, their dedication and commitment, the team spirit and resiliance when it doesn't work out, is important and at times very moving. It can't all be about the winning - because sport and life is not like that.

We’re women, telling women’s stories and we’ve come to realise that all stories are different. Our films are more about the doing, the process and what it feels like, rather than the result. We’re more interested in the person than the accomplishment. We’re also committed diversity – diversity of women and girls as well as sports, which very often means we’re telling stories that wouldn’t normally be told.

Often we hear that ‘elite’ athletes do not inspire women to do sport, but we don’t agree - the problem is the storytelling not the athlete. Tell the right story and we believe you can inspire women and girls …as well as men and boys through elite sportswomen. Our #EngageYourSenses film about Paralympian, Millie Knight, exemplifies this,

"This film definitely issues a challenge to anyone who questions their ability both to try something adventurous outside, and to enjoy it.”

Sounding Board Member, Alex Rotas.

Once you start looking at the person and their story, their status as elite athlete, recreational athlete or whatever label has been attached to them becomes irrelevant. Laura Jones, who recently completed her challenge of running 7 marathons in a year, despite not considering herself a ‘runner’, tells a story of growing self-belief as she completed marathon after marathon. This self-belief has impacted all areas of her life and is sure to inspire many.

All these stories need to be heard if we’re to inspire greater sports participation, which is ultimately our aim. So we’d like to take a moment this International Women’s Day to thank those who have backed our projects in the past year;
Natracare, Bristol City of Sport, Ellis Brigham Mountain Sports, Prosell Learning Limited, TfGM.

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