Who is a woman and who gets to decide?
Canada | 2022 | 80 minutes | Color | DVD | English, Hindi, Swahili | Subtitled | Order No. W221295 |
After then 18-year-old South African runner Caster Semenya's victory at the 2009 World Championships, her personal medical records were leaked to the international media. The public scrutiny of her body, driven by racism and sexism, brought into question her identity as a woman and as a a great champion.
The International Amateur Athletics Federation (now World Athletics) ruled that certain female athletes must medically alter their healthy bodies in order to compete, and their naturally high androgen levels were deemed a performance advantage. CATEGORY: WOMAN follows four athletes forced out of competition by regulations that profile and target women athletes, and the subsequent devastation to their bodies, and livelihoods. But these individuals are emboldened by a conviction to stand up against this violation of their human rights. Following up on her award-winning film TOXIC BEAUTY, Phyllis Ellis exposes an industry controlled by men putting women’s lives at risk while this policing of women’s bodies in sport remains, in a more nefarious way, under the guise of fair play.
"As it is, this doc’s subjects are passionate advocates, its story is infuriating and it has an undeniable power of its own."
"[One of] 13 Films to Catch at DOC NYC 2022."
"[The] film comes at a time when an increasing number of sports at the elite level, and even in universities and high schools, are grappling with controversial cases and struggling to set eligibility rules for women’s events."
"CATEGORY: WOMAN documentary calls out the human rights violation of defining a woman in sports."
"If you don't know this story the film is a must."
SCREENING HIGHLIGHTS AND AWARDS
- Hot Docs Canadian Documentary Film Festival
- Doc NYC
- Canadian Sport Film Festival
- Atlantic Film Festival
Independent filmmaker Phyllis Ellis is a native of Canada and has worked in Europe, Asia, Africa, India and the U.S. for the past thirty-five years as a filmmaker, writer, actor and producer. Her work addresses themes of justice, truth, transformation, and human rights.
Nominated for the 2021 International Emmy’s, and winner of Best Direction and Best Writing at the Canadian Screen Awards (CSA), her feature documentary Toxic Beauty has been viewed by over 44 million people worldwide. Her film, About Her won the prestigious Donald Brittain award at the Canadian Screen Awards (CSA’s) for Best Social Political Documentary Film and Girl’s Night Out, nominated for best direction. Phyllis has won 6 CSA’s and nominated for best direction for her work in documentary film, series, writing and performance. She is very proud to present Category: Woman, her most meaningful film so far.
An Olympian, Phyllis is dedicated to telling stories empowering women’s voices around the world. (12/22)
Esther Newton Made Me Gay
Behind the Rage
Abortion and Women's Rights 1970
A Woman on the Outside
Storming Caesars Palace
Dying to Divorce
Maestra and Maestras Voluntarias
Annah la Javanaise
Call Me Human
America's War on Abortion
Running with My Girls
Fannie Lou Hamer's America
Muslim in America
In the Rumbling Belly of Motherland
Fly So Far
Ways of Being Home
Barbara Lee: Speaking Truth to Power
Daughter of a Lost Bird
Breach of Trust
The Celine Archive
Nice Chinese Girls Don’t: Kitty Tsui
Belly of the Beast
Without a Whisper
Abortion Helpline, This is Lisa
A Normal Girl
The Gold Diggers
The Cancer Journals Revisited
All We've Got
There Goes the Neighborhood
Feminista: A Journey to the Heart of Feminism in Europe
I Am the Revolution
The Feeling of Being Watched
Birth on the Border
Exit: Leaving Extremism Behind
A Thousand Girls Like Me
White Right: Meeting the Enemy
The Rest I Make Up
Yours in Sisterhood
Dinner with the President
Azmaish: A Journey Through the Subcontinent
Nothing Without Us: The Women Who Will End AIDS
Love the Sinner
What Doesn't Kill Me
A Better Man
Black Girl in Suburbia
Birthright: A War Story
Read Civia Tamarkin's director's statement here.