It's About Pillow Fights, Wild Animals and more...

by Joanna D'Angelo

Last Friday night I went to a really fun social gathering for women who work in film and television in Ottawa.  Years ago we had a Women in Film and Television (WIFT) chapter here, but it didn't quite work out. There are WIFT chapters all over the world -and I think WIFT is a fabulous organization. They organize terrific workshops and events throughout the year. But it seemed that WIFT just didn't suit our neck of the woods. But then my wonderful friend Sarah Fodey organized this event - the upshot of which is that we're all keen to keep it rolling on a monthly basis.  Sarah, who is a talented producer in her own right, works for inMotion, an Ottawa-based production company who among other things produces the updated versions of the Hinterland Who's Who spots.  Now, if you're a Canuck then you'll have fond memories of watching those classic TV spots.  Oh, if you get a chance -  check out the Hinterland Who's Who web site - they're currently running a poll for Valentine's day asking which is your favourite monogamous species - the Beaver, Canada Goose or Prairie Vole.  Only in Canada! And I ain't tellin' which one I picked!

Here's one of my favourite classic Hinterland Who's Who:

Now, onto other wild things. It has been my experience that the coolest people working in film and TV are women. Sorry, but had to say it.  Creative, talented, smart and supportive. Yes, this is a competitive business but I can be just as happy for someone else's idea or success as I can for my own. Case in point - one of the great gals I chatted with at the event I attended is Sheila Connolly whom I've known for years but hadn't seen in years. So glad we re-connected though.  I first met Sheila about ten years ago.  We were working in the same production office.  After that Sheila moved onto other things - she became a financial adviser for many years and then decided it just wasn't for her.  Although she really liked the people she was working with - she missed production.  So she decided to go back to school - and is currently studying documentary filmmaking at Algonquin College in Ottawa.

I think making such a dramatic career change takes guts.  She followed her heart and the result is that she is working on a documentary short - that I think is one of the coolest ideas I've heard in a long time. Sheila's doc is about the Pillow Fight League, a group of women who literally fight in public matches with pillows.  It's based in Toronto and while the ladies have had matches in other cities including NYC the league is primarily a Toronto one. It's a semi-professional sport that's described as a cross between wrestling and mixed martial arts....but with pillows.  They don't fight in rings but on League approved professional mats.  And - get this - in each corner stands a "Buffer" a beefy guy who is there to protect the gals (from the rabid fans no doubt) and to "gently nudge" the girls back onto the mats if they fall out of play.

I think what I find the most fascinating about this is that the League consists of "real women" - sales managers, marketing coordinators and career counselors etc... who've found an outlet for their creativity.  Ah, yes - see this is what I'm talking about! Again, here we have another group of cool women who get together on a regular basis and "share" their creative spirits!  Well, our group of film/TV gals isn't quite the same thing but you ken my meaning.

Sheila, tells me the League players have all created "back stories" for themselves and cool fighting names like Olivia Neutron-Bomb, Shady Godiva and Charley Davidson as well as theme songs and colourful costumes.  But underneath all the hoopla and the trash talking that goes on before and during the fights (to the utter delight of the fans) these gals are committed athletes - rigorous about their practices and about keeping to the rules of the game. Oh, and in case you're wondering about the pillows - they're League approved - from Honest Eds on Bloor St. W. in Toronto. Gotta love Honest Ends.

According to Sheila - OUTtv is planning a TV series about the League as well.  But in the mean time Sheila is working on her fabulous documentary.  I sweetly bullied Sheila into setting up a tumblr blog to post updates, footage and pics about her doc so here's Sheila's blog address if you want to follow along:

I'm so pleased for Sheila and I wish her all the best in her documentary! I'm looking forward to seeing it when it's done! 

On a side note: I think tumblr is a great way for writers/filmmakers/artists/photographers to put their work out there.  I'm a new devotee of tumblr thanks to my friend squozed who tumbls here:

Check out this visual taste of the Pillow Fight League:


  1. I think it's great that you are going to get together with others in your industry to discuss ideas or whatever comes about. The sotroy about the pillow fight league reminds me of the mudwrestlers of the 1980s that also came from all walks of life.

    You are way too kind to mention my Tumblr address as I'm sure that others way more influential would have told you about it at some point too.

  2. From what Sheila told me there was some talk originally of only using "babes" in the league so as to attract sponsors but that was quickly shot down. Yay for that!

    Well, you were the one who got me into tumblr - therefore you get the mention ;)

    Thanks for stopping by and for commenting. ;)

  3. You've done it yet again Jojo!!

    Found something completely new to point your faithful readers to, something someone like me had NEVER heard about, nor could have ever dreamed even existed. THANK YOU! How fun. I know it's a fully competitive sport, but having had a pillow fight or two in my life, your post took me back and made me realize how much I yearn for one.

    And on a completely different note, still pertaining to your fabulous post of course, I LOVE Tumblr!! Thanks for the heads up. Even the woman ahead of her times! Hugs and Happy V Day Jojo!

  4. Thanks so much Nina! I love tumblr too. ;) And may I say your tumblr blog is lookin' good. ;)

    Pillow fights are fun. I'm looking forward to seeing a match next time I'm in Toronto.

    Thanks for the comment. ;)

  5. Wow! Pillow Fighting as a professional sport. *faints* I mean, really, How Cool Is That?!?

    Great article! I was (pun alert :-D ) knocked over by this and loved the montage clip. Too freaking cool!! Can't wait for the documentary too.


  6. Hi Chiron: I know! Doesn't it just sound like bees knees? I love it!

    I'll keep everyone posted. ;)


  7. 'In case you're wondering about the pillows - they're League approved - from Honest Eds on Bloor St. W.' - LOL!!

    I do love Honest Ed's. And the allure of leaving Office World for Production World...what a siren call...Very, very happy for her.

    Loved this post, Jojo!

  8. Thanks Julia! Well, I think it's inspiring for all of us no? ;)

  9. What fun! The Pillow Fight League sounds like a great outlet. Years ago, when I worked for the state newspaper association, we brought in Sumo Wrestling (if you've never seen it, you wear incredibly puffy suits and basically roll around as best you can on top of one another) and it was hilarious. Silliness is important. So are creative outlets! And your monthly meetings will not only be a blast but a great way to boost ideas.


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