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Arts and Entertainment

Check Out The New Doc About The Ovarian Psycos, East L.A.'s All-Female Bike Brigade

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After five years of filming and a full festival circuit, a documentary on the Ovarian Psycos will premiere Monday on PBS, and will be available online starting Tuesday. Titled Ovarian Psycos, the documentary follows the story of several women who are a part of the Ovarian Psycos Bicycle Brigade, an East Los Angeles collective for women of color fighting against domestic and sexual abuse and the right for women to occupy space. They manifest their social justice through cycling, organizing mass bike rides once a month to proclaim their belief that "Womxn of Color and the land are now and always have been interchangeable," both being "simultaneously exploited, occupied and raped within patriarchal societies, specifically by the foreign power structures of white supremacy," according to their mission statement.

The film is directed by Joanna Sokolowski and Kate Trumbull-LaValle. Both filmmakers attended the social documentarian program at University of California, Santa Cruz, so they have always worked to focus on themes of social justice in their films, Trumbull-LaValle told Rewire. Trumbull-LaValle was working on the documentary No Más Bebés about East Los Angeles feminist activists in the 1960s and 1970s when she learned about the Ovarian Psycos. Feeling inspired by their contemporary activism, she and Sokolowski decided to start working with the group of women.

The film itself focuses on three Ovas (as the women in the Ovarian Psycos call themselves) and the filmmakers weave in stories of resisting, healing, and finding family while fighting against the lifelong abuse on their bodies at the hand of the patriarchy and white supremacy. These women are self-described "at-risk adults," and they embrace the history of social activism in East Los Angeles by continuing the legacy of "rebellion" and "of revolution," leader Xela de la X told Good Magazine. She also explains the initial distrust with the filmmakers; Sokolowski is white and Trumball-LaValle is white-passing, so de la X and the other Ovas spent a lot of time questioning their angle and credentials before trusting them to tell their powerful story.

Watch an excerpt of the documentary here:

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Ovarian Psycos premieres tonight at 10 p.m. on Independent Lens - PBS, and goes online tomorrow. The next local screening happens on April 11 at California State University, Long Beach.