Matildas doco Trailblazers set to impact girls and women in sport

The new doco charting the meteoric rise of women's football in Australia will be supported by a wide-ranging social impact campaign.
Matildas documentary Trailblazers Stan

Trailblazers, the Stan Original documentary about the remarkable rise of Australian women’s football, premieres today on 4 June, in time for the lead-up to the 2024 Paris Olympics.

The all-female produced documentary (directed and co-produced by Maggie Miles and Maggie Eudes, and producer Lucy Maclaren), features legends of Australian women’s football and current Matildas stars, including inaugural captain Julie Dolan, Sam Kerr, Steph Catley, Mary Fowler, Ellie Carpenter and more.

Trailblazers tells the history of the rise of Australian women’s football, and the team’s journey to success, alongside the fight for equality that culminated in more than 11 million people watching the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup: the largest recorded viewership in Australian television history.

The film goes back in time, charting the first FIFA recognised game in 1979, the early years of paying-to-play, the Matildas striking for equal pay in 2015, heartbreak at Tokyo 2020, and Australia co-hosting the largest women’s sporting event on the planet, the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023, qualifying for Paris 2024.

Read: Documentary Australia reveals impact producer placements

Impact Campaign: Documentary Australia Foundation & Mecca

Accompanying the film’s release on the streamer, a social impact campaign later this month will see Trailblazers screened to schools, sporting associations and other groups, alongside specially designed teaching resources designed to motivate and inspire action, and extend the conversation around gender equality in sport.

The campaign, created by Documentary Australia and supported by major partner MECCA M-POWER (the social impact platform of beauty brand MECCA) aims to inspire audiences to ‘Blaze a Trail’ for gender equality in sports, focusing on promoting leadership, increasing investment, and enhancing infrastructure and opportunities for women and girls at all levels of sport.

The campaign will be implemented with key partners, including Professional Footballers Australia, Correct the Internet, Inspiro Health, Women Onside, and Women Sport Australia.

Documentary Australia’s Impact Director, Lisa Kanani said, ‘This campaign for Trailblazers has enormous potential to bring about change for women and girls in sports and society more broadly. It will invite audiences to blaze a trail for gender equality in sport by taking action.’

The goals of Documentary Australia impact campaign are to:

  • Celebrate and acknowledge the legacy of the Australian women’s football team and grow the women’s football movement in Australia.
  • Educate and drive action for gender equality, diversity, and inclusion in sports.
  • Support increased representation of women in sports leadership and decision-making.
  • Support partners and campaigns working for equal investment, conditions, and opportunities.
  • Encourage viewing, engagement, and participation in women’s sport and increase the visibility and representation of women’s sport in the media.

‘The rise of women’s football mirrors the progress of gender equality across society,’ said Kanani. ‘However, there is still a long way to go to achieve gender equality, both in sport and broader society. At a community level, girls are participating in sports at significantly lower levels than boys. At the elite level, women receive unequal support, pay and media coverage.’

Trailblazers will be shown in classrooms around Australia, alongside educational resources created by, for students in grades 5 to 10. The 15 free lesson plans, tackling themes of gender equality, media bias, and representation, are available from June 24. Educators can sign up here for access.

There will also be a screening program in community sports clubs, elite sporting organisations, and sports-related tertiary education courses, extending the conversation on gender equality in sport.

Production credit: Trailblazers is a Stan Original documentary by Savage Films, Milestone Films and LM Films production by director/producers Maggie Miles and Maggie Eudes and producer Lucy Maclaren.  DOP Maggie Eudes, Editor Sara Edwards, Executive Producers Caitriona Fay and Kate Gill, Stan Executive Producers Cailah Scobie and Alicia Brown. Principal Production Funding from MECCA M-POWER in association with Screen Australia. Developed and financed with support from VicScreen.

Trailblazers screens on Stan from 4 June 2024.

Rochelle Siemienowicz is the ArtsHub Group's Education and Career Editor. She is a journalist for Screenhub and is a writer, film critic and cultural commentator with a PhD in Australian cinema. She was the co-host of Australia's longest-running film podcast 'Hell is for Hyphenates' and has written a memoir, Fallen, published by Affirm Press. Her second book, Double Happiness, a novel, will be published by Midnight Sun in 2024. Instagram: @Rochelle_Rochelle Twitter: @Milan2Pinsk