Kick Like a Girl

About Kick Like a Girl

Kick Like A Girl is the story of what happens when “The Mighty Cheetahs," an undefeated third grade girls soccer team competes in the boys' division. With humor and honesty, this documentary reveals the reality of gender stereotypes and what "Kick Like A Girl" really means on and off the playing field. The film is narrated by 8-year-old Lizzie, a self-described soccer girl, who doesn't let Type 1 diabetes, elbow blocks, or grass stains interfere with her desire to compete. Refreshing and triumphant, Kick Like A Girl reminds us all of the lessons learned in competitive athletics and how sports has been one of the most effective instruments of social change in our lifetime.

Creative Team

 Jenny Mackenzie, Ph.D., L.C.S.W., Director, Writer, Producer, holds a bachelor's degree from Brown University, an MSW from Simmons College, and a Ph.D. from the University of Utah. After a 20-year career working as a clinician, researcher, and developing programs for non-profit organizations, she went back to film school to pursue one of her life long passions--documentary filmmaking. Jenny feels that documentary film is the perfect way to reach wide audiences and help to create necessary social change. Jenny’s first film, “Where’s Herbie?” is an award-winning portrait of a 91-year-old working lobsterman who shares his philosophy on life, death, and the risks of retirement.

My (the Director’s) Relationship to the Project: I became the Cheetah’s volunteer coach when they started playing soccer together in the first grade. After coaching my older daughter’s soccer team for three years, I felt that I knew how to motivate a group of young girls. When the Cheetahs entered the boys division, I was in film school, and I thought, “This is a pretty compelling little story." So, we started shooting. Through the girls’ experience over the three years as their coach, it became clear that giving them the opportunity to find the competition they deserved, and allowing them to excel (not just participate) athletically is something that is impacting their lives on many different levels.

Geralyn White Dreyfous, Executive Producer, is the Academy Award-winning executive producer of Born into Brothels. In 1994, she established the center for Community Service and Documentary Studies with Dr. Robert Coles at Harvard University, work that was a precursor to the groundbreaking Center for Documentary Studies at Duke, and which birthed the acclaimed magazine Doubletake. In 2002, she and Nicole Guillemet founded The Salt Lake Film Center, where she currently serves as its Executive and Artistic Director. She has produced a documentary of the child sex slave trade narrated by Tim Robbins called The Day My God Died, which was broadcast on PBS and distributed by Tapesty.

Jennifer Jordan, Writer and Co-Producer, created, wrote, and produced Women of K2 for the National Geographic Channel, which won five major film festivals, and authored Savage Summit: The Life and Death of the First Women of K2 (William Morrow, January 2005) which received the coveted "Editors' Choice" distinction from the New York Times Book Review as well as the National Outdoor Book Award. She is also the author of several children's books that follow the antics of Harry, the Happy Dog. Jordan spent the better part of the 1990s at WGBH FM in Boston where she anchored National Public Radio's All Things Considered. She also worked with the acclaimed WGBH Channel 2, public television's most prolific production house, as an on-air talent, news segment producer, researcher, and writer.

Christine Siegel Elder, Editor, has had work shown on the Discovery Channel and multiple public television stations. She worked for five years as an editor for WGBH in Boston on Zoom, and edited Native Corn, a film that won best short at the New England Film Festival in 1999. She lives in Ogden, Utah, with her husband, two dogs, and two cats, and is excited to be a part of the Kick Like A Girl creative team.

Awards

Praise

"Kick Like a Girl is a beautiful film, with an inspirational message."
- Davis Guggenheim, Academy Award Winning Director

"A story like Kick Like A Girl can only open doors for other young people. Title IX has done so much but we are still fighting battles just to get girls the same opportunities on the playing fields. Kick Like a Girl shows that when girls that are given an opportunity to play, they feel better about themselves, and believe they can do anything. Isn't that what we want for children, to be able to dream and believe they can be anything they want if only given the chance?”
- Kristine Lilly, Captain US World Cup Soccer Team

Awards

Best Short Film, Danville International Children’s Film Festival

Best Children’s Short, Newport International Film Festival

Kick Like a Girl has been nominated for the prestigious "Billie" (Jean King) Award for the positive portrayal of women and girls in the media

Best Short Film of 2008, Utah Arts Festival

2008 City Weekly "Artsie Award" Best Short Film

Press

"The documentary 'Kick Like a Girl' is one of the most entertaining short films I've seen ... It ought to be required watching for anyone involved in youth soccer, especially parents." -Lya Wodraska, The Salt Lake Tribune (2/9/08)

Moviemaking mom goes for the goal in "Kick Like a Girl" - Salt Lake Tribune (2/18/08)

Girls get a Kick Out of film success: Documentary shows their prowess at defeating boys - The Deseret News (2/28/08)

Conversation on “Kick Like a Girl" - RadioWest NPR (2/25/08)

ABC News Now - Kristi Berner, Alexa Posniak, Producers (3/4/08, 11 a.m. EST)

Did you Know?

  • From the medical literature, we know that prior to approximately 12 years of age, there are virtually no sex-related differences in physiological abilities or performance between girls and boys.  Differences at this time are primarily the result of training opportunities, exposure, and skill development.
  • As Dr. Dan Freigang states in the movie Kick Like A Girl, we encourage boys to take more risks in life, and we protect girls more. 
  • After Title IX passed in 1972, allowing young women to compete for athletic scholarships once open only to young men, the number of girls participating in high school sports increased by over 400%.
  • We know that opportunity, access, encouragement, and exposure are critical for children to grow and develop in the classroom as well as on the playing field.
  • Allowing girls to reach their potential requires us to challenge sex role expectations.

Researchers have found that organized athletic participation is positively related to: Kick Like a Girl

  • Improved physical and mental health
  • Decreased likelihood of dropping out of school
  • Greater self-concept and sense of control
  • Significantly lower rates of sexual activity
  • Improved school grades
  • Higher standardized achievement scores
  • Higher college attendance and degree sought
  • Greater advancement in college

Did you know that there is less than an 11-minute difference between the male and female world records in the marathon?  The women's is 2:15:25, the men's is 2:04:26.  Check out this site for an interesting graph!


Resources: Melpomene Journal Journal of American Medicine, The Women's Sports Foundation Center For Disease Control

Media