Ovarian Psycos

Ovarian Psycos

March 27, 2017

by

Joanna Sokolowski and Kate Trumbull-LaValle

Young women of color from East L.A. redefine identity and build community through raucous, irreverently-named bike crew.

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About the Documentary

Ovarian Psycos is about a new generation of fierce, unapologetic and feminist women of color from the Eastside of Los Angeles who confront injustice, build community, and redefine identity through a raucous, irreverently named bicycle crew: The Ovarian Psycos Cycle Brigade.

Through the personal stories of the crew’s rabble-rousing founder, Xela de la X, activist, poet M.C., and single mother; street artist and original Ovarian Psyco, Andi Xoch, and a bright-eyed young woman from the neighborhood, Evelyn (Evie), the film traces how the “Ovas” emerged from the diverse, youthful, Latino, working class, immigrant neighborhoods of Boyle Heights and East Los Angeles, a community situated within the historic legacy of the Chicano/a Civil Rights Movement that emerged from L.A. in the late 1960s.

For members Andi and Evelyn, the Ovas speak to the broken, to the uneducated, and to those who live the hard life. Meanwhile, the pressure to raise a young daughter by herself ultimately puts Xela at a crossroads with her own role in the Ovas. But through all the obstacles they invariably face, the group as a whole becomes a rising force, as these young women continue to call out to new riders to join them on their journey: “Whose streets? Our streets!”

The Filmmakers

Joanna Sokolowski

Joanna Sokolowski is an Emmy® Award-winning documentary filmmaker. She co-produced the HBO film Very Semi-Serious (2015), a feature-length documentary about New Yorker cartoonists that premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival. She has worked as a producer at Walking Iris Media and Open Studio Productions. Her short film, Still Time (2012), chronicles life after serving 20 years in prison. She holds a BA in Community Development & Urban Planning and received her MA in Social Documentation at the University of California, Santa Cruz, where she was the recipient of the Human Rights Center fellowship.

Kate Trumbull-LaValle

Kate Trumbull-LaValle is an award-winning independent documentary filmmaker who first began in the field of social justice media as an educator and media maker for the Media Arts Center San Diego and the San Diego Latino Film Festival. She was associate producer and assistant editor for Renee Tajima-Peña’s No Más Bebés (2015), which profiles the history of Latina women coercively sterilized at Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center during the late 1960s and 1970s, and aired on Independent Lens. She directed the short documentary, Abaayo/Sister (2012), an intimate portrait of two Somali friends caught in a cultural tug-of-war and is a UC Berkeley Human Rights Fellow (2010) and graduated with an M.A. from the Social Documentation Program at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

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Join the Discussion

Are you familiar with urban bicycling culture like the one depicted in the film? Would you start a similar bicycle group in your area? Does your community have safe streets for women? What can the Ovas story teach us about challenging stereotypes about femininity?

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