Empowered documentary and Q&A at MCM London Comic Con

Empowered documentary and Q&A at MCM London Comic Con

0 comments 📅26 May 2018, 21:43

May 2017 saw filmmaker Lea Winchcombe (of J25 Productions) screen his short film, Behind the Make-Up at MCM London Comic Con (which you can now view on YouTube). This year he returned to the convention with his new documentary Empowered, screened at the Creator’s Stage on the Saturday of the convention.

Lea Winchcombe

Focusing on female empowerment in British pro-wrestling, the documentary is described as two ordinary women doing an extraordinary thing and features professional wrestlers Rhia O’Reilly and Candy Floss. The screening was followed by a Q&A hosted by Stuart Claw, with Lea, Rhia and Emily Read, the founder and owner of Pro-Wrestling EVE.

Asked on how he got the idea to do a documentary on wrestling, Lea explained how Pro-Wrestling EVE embodies female empowerment, saying, “With female empowerment coming up in the last couple of years, I wanted to do something unique.”

When asked on what has led the drive to pushing female wrestling, Emily said, “Pro-Wrestling EVE has.” She also highlighted how being openly feminist and making political statements helped get them covered in mainstream media. “We put the spotlight there, that actually just added that pressure, that people through social media were really able to impact and affect change.”

Lea was then asked on the key points he wanted to get across in the documentary. He explained that he wanted to show how “anyone can be a wrestler, no matter their gender, no matter the size that they are, [or] their sexuality. They can get in the ring and be a professional wrestler.”

That Rhia had been away from the ring for a year due to an injury, she was asked how she managed to keep her motivation going. “Every EVE show, even when I was injured, I was in there being the match maker and co-hosted the shows with Emily,” responded Rhia. “Fans can be fickle at times and if you’re away, they can forget about you and you don’t want them to. I didn’t want to be away either, because I love wrestling so much, whether I’m performing or not.”

Rhia O’Reilly

Emily Read

Emily was then asked how it felt having become a positive role model for those that join Pro-Wrestling EVE. She explained that she wanted her daughter to see strong women and all the women of wrestling. Because of the impact she made, her son said, “girls are much stronger than boys,” which resulted in her having to explain to him that boys can be strong too. “Seeing it effect other people, it’s just amazing and I’m pleased that I’m able to present that to them.”

“It’s super cool,” added Rhia. “They take that confidence out of whatever they got from our class, or being in the audience in our shows, and they take that into the rest of their lives. It’s pretty amazing.”

When it came to choosing which wrestlers to focus upon for his documentary, Lea said that he was forwarded a link from someone who had never been to an EVE show before and they were hooked. It resulted in him reaching out to Emily and asking if he could film them. “Rhia was the face of EVE, would you say?” said Lea.

“You can say that,” laughed Rhia.

“So I wanted Rhia to be the main focal point of the documentary,” said Lea. “Then I wanted someone who was up and coming, like Candy Floss as you saw.”

“It’s cool to be a nerd now, it’s cool to be a wrestler,” said Rhia as she explained how in the past they were not so popular. “There’s so much independent artistry to be supported, and so [when] they wanted to make a documentary I was like, ‘Let’s do it! Let’s have some fun and make something.’”

When asked on what she hoped the documentary would do for women’s wrestling, Emily replied, “The more focus on women’s wrestling, the better. People really need to get used to the fact that women are strong and talented, and that it’s not just the men.” She also explained how people who love wrestling, but don’t like women’s wrestling, just because it involves women, need to learn that they are just being sexist.

Finally Lea was asked where people could catch the documentary in the future. “It’s hopefully going to be at Burning Hammer Film Festival in September in London,” he replied. “It’s a new film festival about wrestling documentaries and wrestling films.”

Photos by Harriett Greene (Manga Girl Photography

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