by Seth Clare
Next Saturday, local photographer, filmmaker, and City Paper contributor Jon Stout (also known as BadJon) will premiere his new short film Derby Love, which explores roller derby here in Charleston.
Stout first got into the roller derby scene two years ago when he went to see a friend compete in a local match. From there, Stout began experimenting with roller derby as a photography subject. But for BadJon, this wasn't enough. “I think what really got me going in this project to begin with was a desire to do more,” he says. “Not only to shed light on the sport, but also to portray the contestants as real people with real emotions, rather than just players in a game.”
Instead of using the usual places where roller derby takes place in Charleston, (namely the Citadel’s McAlister FIeld House or the Hot Wheels Skate Center) Stout went well off the beaten path in selecting locations to shoot. Footage was taken in places like an abandoned textile mill in North Charleston, the Bee Street Parking Garage during a storm, the abandoned navy yard at Noisette, and other places in Charleston’s urban jungle.
As a photographer, BadJon has done a tremendous amount of work exploring the decaying effects of time on old buildings, and this interest is reflected in the new film. Stout's desire to reflect the derby chicks' determination through the resilience of old building, which have stood the test of time, is what ultimately drove his location selections.
The film could not have been finished at a better time, as Derby Baby, a full-length documentary about the history and current state of American roller derby, is just now being released nationally. BadJon’s film will be shown for the first time as the opener for the Park City Film Society’s Derby Baby screening in Charleston. The premiere takes place at the Olde North Charleston Picture House on October 20th. BadJon will also be there selling limited edition 18×24 screen print posters for his film that include full actor and musical credits.
General admission tickets are $5. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. and showtime is at 8 p.m. Find out more at parkcirclefilms.org/films/derby-baby.