“In the Turn” is a documentary by Erica Tremblay, mixing director’s passions for film, queerness and sports. Her work tells a story of queer child in a way that celebrates the community. 

In the Turn shows us the world of roller derby, but it’s not just another documentary about sport. This film views the activity from very specific angle – in In the Turn sport works not only like something that unite (or disunite) but support and play along with your identity. Combination of sport and queer culture may seem odd at first, but when you dig into subject a little and discover collectives like Vagine Regime, it all makes sense. We, the viewers, see it through the eyes of Crystal – ten years old transgender girl, who wasn’t on the script at first.

In The Turn: Documentary That Celebrates Queerness And Roller Derby

The stories behind

Background of the film is a combination of two quite similar stories – both director and protagonist share the experience of being rejected by the team. Crystal wasn’t allowed to play because her gender identity. Erica Tremblay herself was passionate about sports as a freshman, but girls in her team wouldn’t change in front of her. “You’re a dyke” was their explanation, and back then Erica hasn’t yet discovered her gender identity and didn’t even know the meaning of the word. She quit playing after that day – until discovering roller derby.

In The Turn: Documentary That Celebrates Queerness And Roller Derby In The Turn: Documentary That Celebrates Queerness And Roller Derby In The Turn: Documentary That Celebrates Queerness And Roller Derby

In the Turn was supposed to be a documentary about queer roller derby focused on Vagine Regime, to bring it to life, Erica set a Kickstarter campaign which Crystal accidentally found while scrolling her mother’s Facebook feed. She and her mom have sent an open letter (which was later featured in the film) to the team and for the first eight months of filming they were just chatting – until Crystal just asked “do you think I can be in the movie?”. She wanted to tell her story and felt related to the skaters who she found to be “just like her”.

Message that found listeners

“When you see the impact that discrimination, bigotry, transphobia, and homophobia have on a young person, you can’t turn away from it. It’s about being able to understand that the things we say, the things that we do, the policies that are enacted, and the people that we vote for really do have an impact on our children. I don’t think you have to be queer or from a marginalized group to watch Crystal’s story and understand that we need to be listening and inclusive,” Erica explains message of her film. It not only aimed to increase visibility and raise awareness, but also to present queer community in a positive way – that’s why Crystal’s story of alienation is told before the credits. Past them you see a much more brighter side of life, an image that these people lack nowadays.

In the Turn certainly succeeds with spreading the message: it was screen at more than 50 film festivals, won Best New Mavericks Feature award at Atlanta Film Festival and available for on-demand watching at iTunes and Amazon. The film has some real-life effect – Crystal’s life became slightly better after the release, because now she’s allowed to play individual sports. It’s only half of the road (as team sports are still unavailable for her) and it’s still struggle, but things do change.

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