Stories about female athletes take center stage at third annual Play Like a Girl Summit in Nashville

Along with Belmont University Athletics, the Women Sports Film Festival is partnering with us to empower girls to become unstoppable women through sports and active play. Festival Founder and Executive Director, Susan Sullivan will share two films about extraordinary athletes during the Play Like a Girl Summit on February 16 & 17 in Nashville.

PLAY LIKE A GIRL: Why did you start a film festival about female athletes?

Susan Sullivan: Quite simply, I created the film festival because I wanted to go to it and it didn’t exist. When I curated the first program of films I kept finding absolute gems that most people had never even heard of – athletes living extraordinary lives and filmmakers working tirelessly to get their stories to the screen. I felt like someone needed to pick up the ball and take these kinds of films the next mile by getting them in front of audiences that would love them as much as I did.

PLAG: What kinds of topics do the films address?

SS: Told through the lens of sport and athletics, our films touch on many of the most urgent issues impacting women and girls today, such as pay equity and religious freedom. From legendary champions to girls on the local playing field, we believe it is important to see films and have conversations that explore how sport shapes the lives of women and girls around the world.

PLAG: Why does seeing themselves reflected in media matter for girls?

SS: Representation in the media matters because “if she can see it, she can be it”. It sounds simple and obvious but it is incredibly powerful and important. Young girls spend hours consuming media and it shapes what they believe is possible for people who look like them, live where they live or come from where they come. A young person often decides what they can be based on the examples around them and to what they are exposed.

PLAG: There are so many options for watching movies these days. Does it make a difference to see them in a theater?

SS: Yes, there are many options for watching media these days – whether it’s your phone, computer or tv, you can even see movies on a watch now. That said, nothing can replace the shared experience of watching a movie on the big screen in a theater with other people and then talking about it afterwards. It’s even more powerful when the person you “met” in the movie is there in person to talk about what you just saw on screen.

Follow the Women Sports Film Festival on Twitter and join Play Like a Girl in our mission to empower girls through sport by sharing your story with girls everywhere using #IPLAYLIKEAGIRL. Register for the summit at PLAGSummit18.eventbrite.com.