RELAYS at Watershed: Power, Politics and Play

Posted on Tue 12 Jun 2012
The Athlete

It's nearly July and here at Watershed we are reaching the climax of four years of RELAYS activities and the start of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. To mark these momentous times we are presenting a celebration and reflection on sport, culture and cinema throughout the whole of July.

Whilst sport and culture (including cinema) might not seem the most obvious of companions, there is an incredible richness created when these two worlds come together which you can experience through this diverse selection of films, talks and events covering a myriad of themes and topics.

We explore power and the impact of sport and its personalities through a series of events and documentaries including the fabulous documentary about 'the rumble in the jungle' When We Were Kings and Senna, Asif Kapadia's brilliant insight into the hugely talented Formula One driver Ayrton Senna. Events exploring this theme include Olympic Rivalries, an illustrated talk on the famous rivalry between Britain's greatest middle distance runners Seb Coe and Steve Ovett during the 1980s.

When We Were Kings

We will also be taking a look back at the last time the Olympics were held in London 64 years ago in 1948.  They were played out as the rubble of World War Two and food rationing were largely still in place. Author David Goldblatt (How To Watch The Olympics) will be in conversation with Olympic Cycling legend Tommy Godwin (now aged 91) to reflect on his memories of the 1948 'Austerity Games' on Sun 15 July.

David Goldblatt, RELAYS collaborator and broadcaster says:

'The Olympics continue to offer us a both a compelling display of sporting excellence, human brilliance and beauty and an unusual but finely crafted lens through which to view the world in which we live and play.'

Young people have played a massive part in the success of both RELAYS and the Olympics  and on Th 19 July, Counter Punch, a local short made by young people from Knowle West Media Centre as part of RELAYS screens alongside Nicaragua's La Yuma, the story of a headstrong young woman who dreams of escaping poverty by becoming a boxer. There's also Town of Runners (Sat 14 July) a new documentary by award-winning director Jerry Rothwell where young girls from Bekoji - an Ethiopian highland town that has produced some of the world's greatest distance athletes - try to run their way to a different life. Watch the determination of the UK's young sprinters in Personal Best on Tue 17 July - with both public and schools screenings. 

Town of Runners

Liz Milner, RELAYS coordinator at Watershed said:

'RELAYS has been a brilliant opportunity for Watershed to work in partnership with new organisations and to make links with cross-sector partners. July's programme of events is a great celebration of this work - how privileged we are to be welcoming Tommy Godwin to Bristol. Through RELAYS we have been able to explore new platforms - I'm particularly pleased with the Citizen Journalism project - where sport and media really do meet. The Games are getting closer now, and the Olympic motto has been revealed: Inspire a Generation. Well at Watershed we believe we've already been doing that with our RELAYS projects over the last four years.'

Mark Cosgrove, Head of Programme adds:

'This has been an exciting and stimulating four year partnership for us at Watershed. Being part of RELAYS has inspired a whole range of sport and film related activity, which has engaged new audiences and developed innovative ways to help young people to develop their communication and technical skills to report from live sporting events.'

And finally you can't have a season of films and events about sport without at least one opportunity for playing some.... For grown ups who refuse to stop playing, there'll be an opportunity for you to showcase your best ping pong moves in the Café/Bar after a little cinematic inspiration in a warm-up event for Ping! Bristol, the street ping pong project which will see ping pong tables installed in public locations across the city for a month of free play.

Other ongoing Watershed initiatives include the Olympic themed Media Literacy Workshops for schools in June, and media camps in Weymouth where young people can learn how to report on the Olympic/Paralympic sailing and Cultural Olympiad events using the tools of citizen journalism.

RELAYS at Watershed is presented in partnership with Cyclescreen and Afrika Eye. With thanks to David Goldblatt.