About this project
FINAL UPDATE: We cannot thank everyone who has supported our project on Kickstarter enough. You have proven that there is a committed and vocal audience for women's sports. Please continue to keep up with us at our new home. And if you would still like to support the project financially, you may do so here.
UPDATE II: We made our stretch goal of 55K! We have now set a final goal of 1,300 total backers. That's 1,300 people sending the message that they do care about women's sports and want to see these stories told.
UPDATE: Thank you! Thanks to all of your amazing support we have reached our goal of raising $45,000. Because we reached our original goal with time to spare, we are now setting a "stretch" goal for the campaign: $55,000. This amount will allow us to add additional shoot days to our production plan, and additional cameras at some of the big events like playoff games. Every extra penny we raise will go into expanding our coverage, raising our production value and making the best film possible.
It's an ambitious goal, but with all of you behind us, we can do it!
“As a kid I was an equal. I never thought of myself any different. I wanted to be a Chicago Blackhawk exactly like my brothers. That was my dream. It wasn’t until I got a little bit older that people started pointing out that, ‘Hey, you’re a girl. Why are you playing this game? It’s a man’s game.'” - Cammi Granato, Olympic Gold Medalist & First Female Inductee to the Hockey Hall of Fame (2010)
Imagine this: You're 4 years old and skating on the frozen pond behind your grandma's house. You take a shot, and for the first time, you don't fall down or slide off in the opposite direction.
By middle school, you're waking up at 5 AM to get to the rink and practice before school starts. You miss your senior prom to attend a select hockey camp. It's the first time you play with other girls. In college, you go on to lead your squad to the NCAA Frozen Four. And then -- just as your former male teammates land opportunities to play professional hockey -- it hits you: that door is closed for you, because you’re a woman. Just as you're hitting your athletic peak, the road ends. There is no Title IX for life.
Every elite female hockey player shares a version of this story. But the script is being rewritten.
Our team of independent filmmakers is following the National Women's Hockey League - the first and only professional women's hockey league in North America to pay its players - through their inaugural season. What goes down in history is dictated by those who record and retell it. We're determined to preserve this groundbreaking moment for people everywhere, but especially for little girls looking for heroes. Our feature documentary, NWHL: History Begins (working title), will trace the formation of the fledgling National Women's Hockey League while telling the personal stories of its pioneers. Our cameras will be there for the pre-dawn workouts and the late night practices. We'll capture the power in a blistering slap shot, the spray of ice from each stop and pivot, every muttered expletive, and every cry of agony and joy.
THE BIGGER PICTURE
It’s 2015. Women from each major political party are running for President. Combat jobs in the Army and Air Force are opening to women. But women still make $0.77 for every dollar men earn. In professional sports, the gender wage gap is even more profound. Female athletes receive a fraction of the prize money, pay, and media coverage men enjoy. Consider, for example, that the US Women’s soccer team was awarded $2M for winning the World Cup, while the Men’s team got $8M for being eliminated in the round of 16. Or that the average annual NBA salary in 2013-14 was $4.9M, compared with $72K in the WNBA. And until this year, the best female hockey players in the world couldn't even get paid to play.
“Fine,” you say, “but people prefer men’s sports.” That could be because we barely hear about ladies who are making layups. Just 2% of sports news coverage focuses on female athletes.
Our documentary is not just for hockey fans. It's for anyone who cares about the place of women's athletics in our society, and, ultimately, anyone who cares about the ongoing fight for gender equality.
"History Begins" is an ambitious project, and ambitious projects often cost money. Our estimated budget is still many times that - and even that's with a lot of cost-cutting measures, including many of our crew volunteering their time and doing multiple jobs at once. To put our frugality into perspective, consider that the "24/7 Road to the Winter Classic" series, which follows NHL teams during the first half of their season, costs about $1.6M to make.
We need $45,000 to get to the next stage in creating this film. Reaching the goal will enable us to shoot critical footage over the next 2 months that will define the film's narrative and position us to pursue important partnerships.
Women players still don’t have anywhere near the same opportunities as men, and that goes for projects like this about women's sports, too. That’s why we're asking you to get involved.
EVERY contribution counts, no matter how small. We are forever grateful for your support.
Here's how the funds from this Kickstarter campaign will be distributed:
Team sports are inherently rife with drama. Teammates spend long hours together, forming intense bonds and relying on each other for support. Yet they’re also competing for playing time and the increased compensation and opportunities that come with it. As the inaugural season progresses, tough losses and personal fouls will be remembered and avenged, and tension will mount as teams vie for the Isobel Cup. Meanwhile, the pressure is on for founding commissioner Dani Rylan and league personnel to prove that a professional women’s hockey league is viable. The triumphs and failures of the individual players and their teams will be set against the backdrop of the ultimate success or failure of the entire endeavor of professional women’s hockey.
Director/Producer Rachel Koteen is an amateur hockey player and professional filmmaker. Most recently, she co-produced the PBS series "Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide" (winner of 4 Realscreen awards and the Television Academy Honors) and "A Path Appears" for Show of Force.
Cinematographer Marian Dealy has lit award winning features (“Moving Mountains” starring Teresa Russell), shorts (“Rockaway” - featured in TriBeCa Future of Film and "Daughter" - an official selection of the Cannes Court Metrage) and shot short films, web series, music videos and commercials that have played at film festivals around the country.
Story Producer Ana Vesilic produced and edited the recent SXSW Grand Jury Award-winning film, “Kehinde Wiley: An Economy of Grace,” for which she was nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Editing.
Teaser Cinematographer Jarred Alterman is an award-winning filmmaker and cinematographer. His first feature documentary, Convento, won a special jury prize at IFFBoston for Best Documentary. Jarred was the DP on a 13-camera shoot for the new Ross Bros. film about David Byrne’s Contemporary Color project. He shoots for Art:21 and has worked with Charles Atlas on several live installations. Recent credits as a commercial director and DP include: Court 13, History Channel, A&E, Sundance Channel, Chrysler, WHPA, RWJF, True/False Film Festival, Vimeo, High Maintenance, Ross Bros., Bullet Point Films.
Associate Producer Batya Feldman is a freelance producer and communications consultant in Chicago. She currently works at Kurtis Productions, where she contributes to CNBC's "American Greed."
Campaign supporters get awesome rewards. Think signed jerseys, official pucks, on-ice training sessions, player meet & greets, original music, hockey performance socks, NWHL and NHL tickets...etc. Donate to "History Begins" AND get your holiday shopping done. It's a win-win!
Special thanks to the NWHL, Kaleigh Fratkin, The Zambonis, Roxanne Gaudiel/Athletes Only, Kate Cimini & Hannah Bevis, Emily Liu, Jaimie Leonoff, Stable 26, COLT, Meg Linehan, and Middletown Ice World/George Haviland.
Music -- "Got It” Performed by Marian Hill Courtesy of Republic Records under license from Universal Music Enterprises
Risks and challenges
Our team is well positioned to make this film. We have been involved with the league since its launch in April and have an agreement in place that gives us incredible access to the behind the scenes action. This is a great opportunity to capture the types of stories in professional athletics that are rarely available to the public.
We have a dedicated and experienced team who know filmmaking and know hockey working tirelessly to bring this project to fruition, and we have already captured some key moments like the launch party, the player try outs, the first contract signing, and the opening games. Our biggest challenge right now is financial which is precisely why we need you to get involved as a backer. Your contribution not only provides financial support, but also demonstrates to other potential partners how much hunger there is for more media about women in sports.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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