Equal the Contest: Australian gender equity film gets digital release

The award-winning documentary features women's and gender diverse people's footy in regional Victoria.
Action shot: members of the Mt Alexander Falcons football club playing a game of football.

Umbrella Entertainment has today announced the Australian digital release date for Equal the Contest, which won the Best First Feature Documentary at Melbourne Queer Film Festival 2023.

Directed by Mitch Nivalis, the ‘gentle and personal agitprop film’ is set to arrive on all major digital platforms on 6 March 6, 2024, just in time for International Women’s Day.

The film follows the Mt Alexander Falcons football club, a new community level club created in 2021 in Victoria by and for, women and gender diverse people. When 42-year-old, non-binary filmmaker Nivalis joins the club, a a simple desire to play becomes a complex journey of inclusion and belonging. An unexpected turn means the team must fight to play. Their campaign challenges age old sporting traditions and joins the wider movement for gender equity.

Speaking to ScreenHub about the film last year, Nivalis said:

‘Gender equity feels a bit like my life’s work and Equal the Contest is the current iteration of that work. Since I was a little kid I’ve felt like I don’t fit the gender binary and, as a result, when I was young I always felt like there was something wrong with me.

‘I had so many aspects of my life restricted because of my gender: things I wanted to participate in, like sport, ways I wanted to dress, ways I wanted to express myself. So I’ve always felt unable to truly explore my potential. Societal constructs influenced the people around me, which in turn influenced my own belief in what I was capable of and that led to a really depressed period during my teenage years. 

Mitch Nivalis. Image: supplied.

‘When I became a photographer and filmmaker in 2004, I realised my creativity gave me this power to rewrite the narrative around what it is to be male, or female, or trans or non-binary. What it is to be human essentially, and how we might all be able to explore our potential more fully if we weren’t being limited by the gender binary and everything that comes with that.’

Equal the Contest will be available to own or rent from 6 March.

Paul Dalgarno is author of the novels A Country of Eternal Light (2023) and Poly (2020); the memoir And You May Find Yourself (2015); and the creative non-fiction book Prudish Nation (2023). He was formerly Deputy Editor of The Conversation and joined ScreenHub as Managing Editor in 2022. X: @pauldalgarno. Insta: @dalgarnowrites