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We Made a Documentary About the Matildas (and It’s Coming Soon to Stan)

January 1 | 3 minute read

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Words by Ruby Devlin

Originally published on | March 26

After FIFA World Cup matches that had the entire country on the edge of their bar stools, recliners and sectionals, the Australian women’s soccer team have cemented themselves as icons of the game – and of the country.

But women’s football in Australia wasn’t always met with the same enthusiastic support. Rather, it was the work of former Matilda’s that paved the way for their current success and recognition. This is the story that Trailblazers – a new Stan Original Documentary supported by MECCA M-POWER – aims to tell.

MECCA’s social change initiative that exists to champion gender equality, MECCA M-POWER, is proud to have backed the film throughout its production. M-POWER Executive Director Lisa Keenan describes it as a story about the pioneers who made women’s soccer in Australia what it is today, with an impact far beyond the pitch. “It’s about the women and girls who were told they couldn’t play football but did anyway, for the love of the beautiful game,” she says, adding, “That spirit, of what is possible when women are unleashed to be their best, is at the heart of MECCA M-POWER.”

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Maggie Eudes, the Producer, Co-Director and Director of Photography for Trailblazers, was inspired by her own experiences, after stopping playing soccer as a child because she felt there was no space for her in women’s sport. “Making this film was a little bit of a way to make a wrong thing right,” she tells us. “By telling the story of these amazing women… who paved the way for little kids, like me, to play the sport they love.”

Eudes continues, “I'm making a film that if I had seen it, just before I stopped playing… I wouldn't have dropped it, I would have pursued my passion.”

Created by an all-female production team, Trailblazers showcases the hard-fought journey of women’s football in Australia, from the first FIFA-recognised game in 1979 all the way to the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup, which was the largest women’s sporting event on the planet. In the documentary, Co-Directors Maggie Eudes and Maggie Miles interview past and present players, including the team's first captain, Julie Dolan, and current superstars like Sam Kerr, Steph Catley and Mary Fowler.

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Kate Gill, Co-CEO of Professional Footballers Australia, says the film is both a celebration of women who made the sport what it is today and a reminder of the work left to do. “[They] understood that the next generation was going to be treated better. But we all know that we've got that responsibility. We stand on the shoulders of giants, and it's our responsibility to carry the game forward.”

She continues, “We have come a long way… but I still think that women's sports are just seen as a nice to have. It’s still not seen as a business in its own right. It needs investment, it needs to grow. Look at what happens when you invest in women – they kick butt!”

Trailblazers Producer and Co-Director Maggie Miles hopes the documentary sparks conversations around gender equality in the lead up to the Paris 2024 Olympics and beyond. “When we were making the film, this phrase came up a lot: ’You can't be what you can't see’. Which has now been flipped, to ‘You can be what you can see’.”

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“We are so proud to support this film, and the Documentary Australia led impact and education campaign” Keenan tells us. “[It] will shortly commence in classrooms, boardrooms, and community sporting clubs around the country to spark vital conversations around equality and opportunity in women's sport.”

The Savage Films, Milestone Films & LM Films production is presented by Screen Australia, VicScreen & MECCA M-POWER. Trailblazers is set to premiere exclusively on Stan later this year. Learn more here.

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