Growing up, Sami Grisafe was captain and first female quarterback of her Division 1 high school football team in Redlands, Calif. Then, she was three-time champion and MVP quarterback of the Team USA. Winning came easy to Sami. Opening the field to a new generation of female players was a whole different ballgame.
“Open Field” follows Sami through her youth and high school teams in Redlands, followed by her hard-hitting women’s football teammates as they rack up championship after championship. Yet even at the top of their game, they hit obstacles no male NFL players have ever faced. Gender stereotypes. Lack of funding and sponsorships. No unified league. And no awareness or recognition in an otherwise football-obsessed nation.
These women carved out a path that didn’t exist and built a movement, of both women and men, who are reframing the conversation and rewriting the playbook to integrate women into the game.
“We knew this incredible story had to be told,” explains Director and Producer Kathy Kuras of Vanguard Muse, an independent music and film production company. “These women not only won U.S. championships, they went on to conquer the world, despite the hurdles and the setbacks.”
Shot on location over six years with full access to practice sessions, games, locker rooms, private team conversations and off-the-field activities, “Open Field” documents multiple seasons of the Chicago Force and three world championships of Team USA (in Sweden, Finland and Canada). The film also draws upon home-video footage and archival images to bring to life the compelling journey of Sami Grisafe through youth league and high school competition in Redlands.
“We’re thrilled that our story will be told,” says Sami. “We hope it’s an inspiration to countless women and girls out there who love the game of football and strikes a chord with anyone who has had the privilege to play.”
“Open Field” will be screened on Wednesday, April 28 at 4:20 p.m. PST and be available for 24 hours at the 2021 virtual Riverside International Film Festival. www.riversidefilmfestival.org