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Friday, 16 February 2024

Film Festival

'Lost Lionesses' Take Centre Stage at Film Festival's Opening Night Screening of Copa71

Festival dates: 15-17 March 2024

Hebden Bridge Film Festival is excited to announce a special screening of the incredible documentary COPA71 at the opening night for the 2024 Festival.

The film will be followed by a live, and in person, Q and A, featuring the 'lost lionesses'' from the film, Chris Lockwood, Gill Sayell and Leah Caleb from the original 1971 England Women's World Cup team.

They will be joined by two ex-England players - the first black woman to represent England and still one of the highest goal scorers in the Women's' game, Kerry Davis and Hebden Bridge's own Issy Pollard.

COPA71 is an inspirational documentary which uncovers one of sporting history's best kept secrets and showcases the awesome talent that women's football had to offer, 20 years before it was recognised as an official sport. The 1971 Women's World Cup is one of the highest-ever attended women's sporting events with sell-out games played to over 100,000 fans in Mexico but little was known about the event, until now.

COPA71 team in Mexico. Photo by Ritzau, Scanpix TopFoto,
courtesy of New Black Films Ltd

COPA71 features emotional insights from the players and explores the highs and lows they experienced on their journey. As well as taking on international teams in the tournament, the young team battled for the future of women's football, which today is one of the fastest-growing sports in the UK.

Yorkshire-born Chris Lockwood was just 15 when she travelled to Mexico to take part in the then unofficial women's football World Cup. The festival's opening night screening and live Q and A is a chance to hear how that experience impacted the team, ask questions of the original players Chris, Leah and Gill as well as hear from giants in the field like Kerry and Issy who followed several decades later.

"We are excited to bring the incredible story of COPA71 to our audiences, and to have three of the original COPA71 players who were silenced for decades, sharing their stories with us in person is a great honor. This film will appeal to anyone who loves a compelling story, whether you're footy-mad or not!" says festival director, Louise Wadley.

What promises to be a spectacular opening night sets the stage for a weekend filled with diverse and powerful cinema, all right at the heart of Hebden Bridge. The festival will take place from 15-17th March at the Picture House Cinema and the Hebden Bridge Town Hall.