Rob Ulitski - 31st July 2019

Following two women’s American football teams - South Carolina Smash and New York Wolves - this docu-music video by Michael Parks Randa for Shovels & Rope depicts a remarkable group of women, who take football very seriously and encourage one another through the sport.

It’s all about empowerment and leaving a legacy and platform for future generations of women to have a chance to play football, with a mixture of portraits and footage of the women playing the game itself. And as one of the film's subject says: "I think that it’s really important for my daughters, and young girls in general to see positive influences in sport, and just see that girls can do this too.” 

Kent Willard lenses the visual with a confident and assured eye. Borrowing colour palettes and techniques from traditional sports commercials, the video depicts these women in a variety of scenarios - presumably their day jobs: fixing and riding motorbikes, prepping a car for a paint job, and of course training for their big game.

Parks Randa's video goes much further than subverting traditional gender roles. It also celebrates everything it is to be a woman. One scene in particular, where the group break away from training for a moment to dance in beat with the song, is silly and heartwarming. As one of the women says, “This is sisterhood. And we’re damn good at it.”

It's a testament to the production that this project, despite being filmed in two entirely different locations, feels incredibly tight and well-structured. The scattering of real-world sound throughout, including grunts, groans and cheering, helps to blend the documentary and music video styles, and it results in a very naturalistic final product. 

It is unapologetic, organic and exciting. And the most poignant shots of the video are found in the footage of various young girls training, watching the game and celebrating the victories with their adult counterparts. This is the future generation, and a huge focus is placed on this message; that the women’s work today is providing a better future for these young girls, for them to one day pick up where they left off.

After watching ‘I’m Comin’ Out’, you’ll have a smile on your face and an even bigger appreciation for the work these women, and indeed all the women across the world, are doing.

“It’s about women empowerment… It’s a movement."

Credits

DirectorMichael Parks Randa
ProducerAlisha Hawkins, Robby Opperman
Executive ProducerRule Boston Camera
1st ADJake Sharpless
Director of PhotographyKent Willard
Focus PullerTrevor Jacobson
EditorMichael Parks Randa
ColouristRob Bessette
Grading companyFinnish Post

Rob Ulitski - 31st July 2019

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