Photo credit: Penny Ryan.  Equal the Contest. Shelley, Mavis, Mitch.

Film Maker Mitch Nivalis put the Mount Alexander Falcons at the heart and centre of their incredible film- Equal the Contest.  Launched in style this week, the film’s premiere screening was sold out at the Castlemaine Documentary Film Festival on Saturday 17 June. More of Mitch’s work has been commissioned as a terrace projection, and will be screening every evening from sunset (5:15pm) at Castlemaine Art Museum until 10 September.

In 2022, a group of dedicated people started the Mount Alexander Falcons club, with a focus on inclusion for women and gender diverse people.

“It’s a human right to be able to play sport and everyone should be able to do that, regardless of your gender or myriad of other factors, sport is for everyone.”

Alana Wearne

President, Mount Alexander Falcons

Ready to play in 2022, the Mount Alexander Falcons’ application was knocked back by AFL Central Vic initially, despite over 60 players on their list and resources for the season.  The club debuted at A.H. Capp for the 2022 Falcon’s Community Fun Day.  Shortly after that, the Mount Alexander Falcons executive were given less than a month to prepare the team to compete in a series of practice matches with the Central Victoria Football League when one of the teams unexpectedly folded.  For many Falcons family following our sibling club, it has been quite the roller coaster of a story!

Although never intending to be directly in the film, Director Mitch Nivalis was encouraged to allow their work to focus on their own journey, learning to play AFL for the first time and being part of the fight to play, and the wider movement for gender equity.

It has felt like a gift to be able to let go of my fear, and place myself at the centre, in the hopes that other people feel themselves represented.  And also that it educates other people to let go of some of that fear

Mitch Nevalis

Director, Mount Alexander Falcons player

Castlemaine’s Theatre Royal presented the feature length documentary film “Equal The Contest”, followed by a panel discussion with Mount Alexander Falcons players including film maker Mitch Nivalis, associate producer Alex Kelly and president Alana Wearne.  As well as a huge turn out from the Mount Alexander Falcons family, there were plenty of Falcons from Melbourne in the audience.  This included the Over 35’s Women’s Falcons who drove up after their own match- an Over 35’s League wide Pride Round.

There has been an organised backlash against trans and gender diverse people so what is needed is organised community to push back against that negativity

Alex Kelly

Associate Producer, Equal the Contest

The film was streamed online right around the country as part of the C-Doc Festival, and is also available for screening in community networks – sporting club, workplace, school.  Director Mitch Nivalis is inviting others to host an online or in-person screening and to open up conversations and understanding around inclusion, gender diversity, fair distribution of access and resources, gender equity, barriers to participation in sport, key steps to inclusive culture and visibility.

The Castlemaine-based Falcons are currently playing their first official season as part of the inaugural women’s football competition in the Riddell District Football Netball League. 

Want to learn more about the Inclusion and Diversity Programs at Darebin?