About this project
We are the Women Sports Film Festival––the world’s first film festival where stories about female athletes take center stage.
Now is the time to hear stories and see images of strong women and girls pursuing their dreams and persisting in the face of tremendous obstacles.
Join us in bringing these important stories to the big screen.
We launched the first film festival last July 2016 in Oakland, California. It was intentionally scheduled for the weekend preceding the opening ceremonies of the Summer Olympics, capitalizing on one of the few times you can count on women’s sports being covered in major news.
Nearly 500 people attended the festival over three days as we screened 17 short and feature length documentaries about women and girls from four continents playing 11 sports––including the award-winning films T-Rex: Her Fight For Gold about two-time Olympic gold medal winning boxer, Claressa Shields, Keepers of the Game about an all-Native girls’ lacrosse team at Salmon River High School in upstate New York and The Will to Fly about legendary Australian aerial ski jumper Lydia Lassila.
We created this film festival because we wanted to go to it and it didn’t exist. As we curated the first program of films we kept finding absolute gems that most people had never even heard of. Athletes living extraordinary lives and filmmakers working tirelessly to get the story to the screen. We felt it was our duty to pick up the ball and take it the next mile by getting these films in front of audiences that would love them as much as we did.
Building on the momentum of the first festival we launched a monthly screening series in January 2017 where we average over 80 attendees per screening as our community continues to grow.
This campaign will help us fund our second annual festival––returning to Oakland, California on September 28th, 29th and 30th, 2017 with a full slate of films and panel discussions. Over 50 independent filmmakers have submitted short and feature-length documentaries for consideration, deposits have been placed on theaters, hotel rooms have been reserved and guest speakers are being vetted. Your support will get us to the finish line.
Study after study shows that women are underrepresented on screen and behind the camera. Only 25% of narrative movies in major film festivals in 2016-17 had a female director. Almost twice as many documentaries were directed by men as by women in the same time frame. There is a similar gap in youth athletics with girls dropping out of sports 2x faster than boys by the time they turn 14.
The good news is when women and girls are better represented behind the camera, they are better reflected on screen. Women have directed 19 of the 26 films we have screened in our brief history. From pay equity to religious freedom, our films touch on many of the most urgent issues impacting women and girls today. As we approach the 45th anniversary of Title IX, our goal is to energize and inspire with a program that showcases badass women smashing stereotypes and breaking barriers.
We bootstrapped the first Women Sports Film Festival with hard work and our own money. Now we are on Kickstarter to fund our second festival by partnering with a community of people that love women’s sports and powerful storytelling.
Where the funds will go
Your support will help us will pay for things like renting movie theaters, paying filmmakers well-deserved screening fees, bringing athletes and filmmakers to the festival and a full day of movies for local student-athletes and the chance to meet their sports heroes in person. Your backing will also provide free and discounted tickets to local girls to attend films throughout the festival weekend.
Why should you support this project?
Good question. We wondered that, too and found our answer in our personal experience backing Kickstarter campaigns over the years. Common to everything we have supported was our belief in the creative idea at the heart of the project and our desire to see it exist in the world. Whether in person or from a distance, we hope you’ll join us in creating the film festival that female athletes and storytellers deserve.
Susan Sullivan and Jennifer Matt are the co-founders of the Women Sports Film Festival. Partners in work and life, their story began in 2005 when they each crossed the finish line of Ironman Canada. The vision for the film festival grew out of Susan's experience as a birth doula and filmmaker combined with Jennie's skills as a technology entrepreneur. The heart of the festival is the amazing community of friends and family who come together to bring the festival to life.
The film festival is just the beginning. Our dream is to bring these inspiring films to communities around the world and to create an online destination where you can always find the best in women's sports documentaries. Join us as we create a movement that keeps stories about strong women and girls center stage.
Thank you for visiting our Kickstarter!
Risks and challenges
With our first film festival under our belt we feel confident that we can deliver the second annual festival, as well as campaign rewards, on time and on budget. Should we run into any challenges, we will communicate with our backers and keep you informed every step of the way.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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