When non-binary filmmaker Mitch, joins a new local women’s footy club in Regional Victoria a simple desire to play becomes a complex journey of inclusion and belonging. An unexpected turn means the team has to fight to play. Their campaign challenges age old sporting traditions and joins the wider movement for gender equity.
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Equal the Contest is a documentary film about the Mt Alexander Falcons, a community AFL club led by and for women and gender-diverse people. It is filmed from the perspective of the film-maker Mitch, who is also a player in the team, wearing body cameras while training and playing. Despite fulfilling all the requirements of a new club, The Falcons have their application rejected without reason and they begin a public fight garnering support from all levels of community and AFL HQ itself. The club is guided by executive committee of Lou, a criminal defense lawyer and fierce advocate for justice; Alana, a safe schools coordinator with a lived experience of LGBTIQ discrimination; Sam the clubs only male leader, who quietly works behind the scenes for the benefit of the players; and Gabe, a local physio who’s empathy as an LGBTIQ alley is palpable. As the team plays their first practice match in their home town of Castlemaine, they realise it will be the first time a women’s team has played since 1948. 92 year old Mavis, one of the original players, turns up to wish them luck before the game and in the process allows the shame she’s felt for having played 74 years ago turn to pride. As the team develops, under the guidance of player-turned-coach Lil, players learn not only about football, but about breaking through the societal constructs that have held them back. Twists and turns abound as the ongoing impacts of gender inequality create barrier after barrier for women and gender diverse people to play sport. The Falcons reapply a year later, to again attempt to field a team in the Central Victorian League in 2023 and a nervous wait begins to see if AFL Central Victoria will this time let them play.
DURATION: 77 MINUTES
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