Synopsis by Nathan Southern
The title of Mark Woollen's documentary Jam is slang for a roller derby match, and though many mistakenly believe that this craze died a rapid death after the late '70s, Woollen and co. use screen time to demonstrate otherwise. The film explores the half-decade-long effort of the Frisco-based American Roller Derby Association to keep itself afloat, via the concerted and diligent efforts of its members. Woollen profiles several of these individuals, most of whom are middle-aged, eccentric, colorful and flamboyantly gay; subjects include: Streisand-digging member Dan Ferrari, who claims that he would place a roller derby match before a luxury cruise; Alfonso Reyes, a player with 32 years of experience behind him who once turned tricks for $100 per on the streets of San Francisco, then moved in with the same partner for nearly two decades; and ARDA president Tim Patten, afflicted with HIV for nearly 25 years but insistent on pouring all of his personal money into the organization. The main gestalt of the narrative involves Patten's recruitment and assembly of a seasoned team of players, and his decision to promote the team's doings on the internet - amid a rapidly deescalating number of fans.
roller-derby, behind-the-scenes, eccentric, mission [quest], owner