watch JAM trailer


USA, 2006, 85 Minute Running Time
Genre/Subjects: Biography / History, Documentary, Gay, Latino/a, Lesbian, Local Filmmakers / Subjects, Sports
Program: Documentary
Language: English

DIRECTOR: Mark Woollen

In the 1960s, roller derby had more television viewers than any other professional sport. In San Francisco, derby matches drew more spectators than the Giants and the A’s combined. The sport fell out of favor virtually overnight, but that didn’t stop Tim Patten, a gay man who became a roller derby star as an outlet for his anger and frustrations. Now, as an HIV-positive man, the dream of reviving the sport — and seeing people battling it out on skates for victory! — has kept Tim alive. JAM covers seven years in the unpredictable saga of this former skating luminary, who struggles to bring the once popular sport back to life here in the Bay Area, while revealing roller derby’s surprisingly queer history and its many gay and lesbian skaters and fans.
Tim gathers many of the old stars, including fellow gay skater Alfonso Reyes, to create the American Roller Derby League and the Bay City Bombers. Alfonso and his cadre of skaters are a ragtag but hearty bunch of dreamers who still light up at the prospect of barreling down the rink for their fans. But director Marc Woollen discovers that there is as much drama behind the scenes as there is in the rink as an internal power struggle threatens to doom the league before it can even gain the momentum it needs to survive. But it’s the sheer velocity of this sharp-edged sport that helps Tim, Alfonso and their compatriots get through the toughest parts of their lives. — COREY EUBANKS


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