Christy Garland’s new documentary Cheer Up, about the worst cheerleading team in Finland, will premiere at the 2016 Hot Docs Film Festival in Toronto (April 28th-May 8th).
Deep in the Arctic Circle, the Ice Queens cheerleading team are led by Miia, an ambitious coach who’s tired of losing. In an attempt to reverse the team’s fortunes, Miia seeks inspiration by visiting the world champions in Texas to learn their winning ways.
However, Miia’s new approach pushes her team to breaking point. The strain reveals that the source of the girls’ suffering lies much deeper than their lack of trophies. They use cheerleading as a means of coping with their questions of identity, belonging and family.
Director, Christy Garland, said to IndieWire: “Much of reality TV has depicted relationships among young people (women in particular) in a competitive context, with mean and petty conflicts, stereotypical characterizations, jealousies and humiliating judgments and rejections.”
“I’ve long thought of making a film that shows young people as complex, wise and compassionate as they are, in a film that doesn’t appeal to base prejudices. We hear a lot about what it takes to win, to be the best, and why we should all work hard to achieve our dreams.”
“Of course that message is important and inspiring. But life doesn’t always deliver the ending of a Hollywood movie. Not everyone wins the trophy. So I made this film for the rest of us, who find other ways of defining a successful and happy life.”