WOMEN IN SPORT: A film season by Storyhouse Young Programmers

The Young Programmers discuss their film choices and share their favourites from the season.

Inspired by Storyhouse Women, a weekend celebrating women and girls, Storyhouse Young Programmers have chosen to celebrate and present a season of films celebrating women in sports.

With four game-changing female led films, this season will explore the challenges of working in a male-dominated industry and the obstacles that women face when competing in sports.

Jodie, one of the Young Programmers said, We have chosen the topic women in sport because we wanted to highlight a selection of films that showcase positive, empowering and uplifting representations of women.”


The season opens with Whip It on Tuesday 28 February at 6pm. Drew Barrymore’s rebellious directorial debut centers around indie-rock loving misfit Bliss (Elliot Page), who breaks free from the misery of the beauty pageant scene with the help of roller-derby.

Jodie said of this film choice, “for me, Whip It has been a personal favourite of mine since I first watched it as a teenager. I wanted to include this film in our season because I believe it celebrates female friendships, challenges gender stereotypes and is simply a feel-good feminist film.”

The 2009 cult classic helped inspire a generation of people to lace up and form their own roller-derby teams, including the all-inclusive North Wales Roller Derby who formed in 2011; the members of which have been invited to attend and introduce the screening.

Two teenage girls in footabll kits
Bend It Like Beckham (2002)

The second film of the season will be screened on Sunday 5 March and is a classic nostalgic teen movie. Starring Paminder Nagra and Kiera Knightley, Bend it Like Beckham tells the story of Jess Bhamra, a talented young footballer who is scouted to join a semi-pro football team. Struggling to hide her passion for football from her strict family, Jess tries to navigate love, friendships and her own cultural identity.

Eugenie, a Young Programmer, said this was their favourite film of the season due to it being ‘quintessentially British’. Francesca adds, “it’s a good film for showing that you can do anything no matter who you are”.

Girl surfer lined up on the beach
Girls Can’t Surf

Next up on Sunday 12 March at 6pm is the feature documentary Girls Can’t Surf. It follows the journey of a band of renegade surfer girls who took on the sexism and misogyny of the male-dominated surfing industry in the 1980s. Featuring surfing greats such as Jodie Cooper, Frieda Zamba, Pauline Menczer, and Lisa Anderson, this documentary shows the hardship that women face and how hard they will fight to make an impact.

Mia, Young Programmer, says, “My favourite film would be Girls Can’t Surf as the rebellion in the film connects with my personality.”

The season concludes with Skate Kitchen on 14 March at 6pm. Directed and written by Crystal Moselle, Skate Kitchen tells the true story of how Camille’s life as a lonely suburban teenager is  changed dramatically when she befriends a group of girl skaters. As she dives deeper into the raw New York subcultures, she begins to understand the true meaning of friendship as well as herself.

“The season will offer the opportunity to see some lesser known films or catch an old favourite on the big screen” Alice explains, “It’s an opportunity to watch something from a theme I don’t usually watch. It’s important to have films about women in different industries.”

Alongside the film screenings the Young Programmers will also host a number of FREE activities, including a badge making workshop before the screening of Whip It, and a sticker station before Skate Kitchen.

The Storyhouse Young Programmers

Women In Sport runs from 28 Feb – 14 March. Tickets are £5 for members and Young Storyhouse Card and £5.50 for non-members. Explore the full programme here.

Young Programmers offers young people in Chester the opportunity to learn about all aspects of programming a cultural centre including marketing, exhibition and distribution, event management, scheduling and working as a team.

Its members, aged 14 to 25, get real life experience creating their own events including film screenings, open mic nights and building takeovers, as well as developing digital events.

Click here to find out more about the Storyhouse Young Programmers.