The barrier-breaking story of a Palestinian women’s car racing team has won the $10,000 Flinders University Documentary Award, announced today at the Adelaide Film Festival.
Speed Sisters, the work of Canadian director Amber Fares, focuses on the first all-woman race-car driving team in the Middle East. At improvised tracks across the West Bank, the five women have sped their way into the heart of the gritty, male-dominated Palestinian street car-racing scene.
The documentary, made over seven years, follows the lives of the team members on and off the track to witness how they overcome the odds to reinvent what it means to be not only a Palestinian under Israeli occupation, but a woman in a male world.
The AFF Documentary Jury chose the film from a field of 10 international nominees, commending Speed Sisters “for shining a spotlight on a unique community of competitors who have remained dedicated to their passion despite numerous cultural and geopolitical challenges”.
The award is one of the Festival’s two major prizes; the award for the best feature was won by Brazilian film Neon Bull.
Beyond the award sponsorship, Flinders has many different forms of engagement with the AFF. Screen academic Associate Professor Mike Walsh assists in selecting the Festival program and writes the background blurbs for most of the films. A long list of Flinders graduates have played roles in the Festival’s films, including directors Scott Hicks, Matt Bate, Eddie White and Matt Vesely, and producer Kirsty Stark.
Speed Sisters will have its second screening at the Festival today (Friday) at 4.45pm at Palace Cinema.