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.
Building on the momentum of the first festival we launched a monthly screening series in January 2017 where we averaged over 80 attendees per screening as our community continued to grow. Our second annual festival returned to Oakland, California in September 2017 and expanded to four days with a full slate of films and panel discussions. Over 800 people attended the festival as we screened 23 short and feature length documentaries about women and girls from around the world.
We bootstrapped the first Women Sports Film Festival with hard work and our own money. We used Kickstarter to fund our second festival by partnering with a community of people that love women’s sports and powerful storytelling. 389 Backers believed in the vision and pledged $27,080 to the 2nd Annual Women Sports Film Festival.
Everyday Activism was our 2017 panel discussion, Q&A, and networking opportunity with three women who use their athleticism to make tidal waves of change in policy, women’s reproductive rights, mental health, and the future of sports. These women are Mental Health Advocate, Olympic Gold Medalist, WNBA veteran Chamique Holdsclaw; Mental Health Advocate, Founder @Run4AllWomen, @Harlem_Run, Under Armour Athlete, Podcaster Alison M. Désir; and Athletic Director at Pleasant View School, Motivational Speaker, Basketball Trainer Bilqis Abdul-Qaadir.
Launched in 2017, our Girls Day program brings together local middle-school student-athletes for a day of films, panel discussions and hands-on workshops in sports and filmmaking. Our intention is to inspire girls to use their creativity and voices to be creators and storytellers rather than passive consumers of media.