MELBOURNE, Australia - Tennis fans in Melbourne have a chance to catch one of the best films ever made about tennis, with 2013 documentary The Battle Of The Sexes now showing at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI) at the city's Federation Square complex.
The Melbourne run, which lasts until February 13, follows a world premiere at the Edinburgh International Film Festival last June, as well as a red carpet gala screening in London's Leicester Square during Wimbledon.
Highlighting the Aussie season, a gala screening and panel discussion will be held at ACMI this Friday, June 17 at 7:30pm. After the end credits have rolled Original 9 member Judy Dalton, who features in the documentary, will be joined on stage by other tennis luminaries to discuss a tumultuous period in tennis and wider society.
Tickets to this special event presented by ACMI and the WTA are on sale to the general public here.
The Battle of the Sexes looks at the birth of women's professional tennis, including the formation of the WTA and the fight for equal prize money, against the backdrop of the flourishing women's liberation movement in the early 1970s. The story climaxes with the dramatic, high-stakes encounter between Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs at the Houston Astrodome on September 20, 1973.
"Billie Jean King is one of the all-time greats, she's one of the superstars, she's ready for the big one, but she doesn't stand a chance against me, women's tennis is so far beneath men's tennis," opined 55-year-old Riggs ahead of the match. "I want to prove that women are lousy, they stink, they don't belong on the same court as a man."
Still, it was 29-year-old King who would record an inspirational and empowering victory in front of 30,000 screaming fans, watched by a worldwide television audience of 100 million people.
In addition to King, the documentary features interviews with iconic figures such as Margaret Court, Chris Evert, Virginia Wade and Betty Stove, as Dalton and fellow Original 9 members Rosie Casals, Nancy Richey, Julie Heldman, Peaches Bartkowicz and Valerie Ziegenfuss.
Current superstars Serena Williams, Venus Williams, Maria Sharapova and Caroline Wozniacki also share their thoughts on King and the other trailblazing women who helped create the global tour they compete on today.
Directed by James Erskine and Zara Hayes for London-based New Black Films, The Battle Of The Sexes boasts inspired use of social and tennis archive footage and a rousing contemporary soundtrack, hits from Aretha Franklin, John Lennon, Diana Ross And The Supremes and Helen Reddy bringing the tumultuous 1970s to life.
For more information, go to acmi.net.au/battlesexes.