Documentary Directed by YMCA CEO Debuts on NFL Network June 23

Published On: June 22, 2022Categories: Community & Culture, Sport

NFL Network Debuts OPEN FIELD Documentary Directed by YMCA of Austin CEO

Award-winning film about women’s professional football airs June 23 at 9pm CDT 

AUSTIN – OPEN FIELD, an award-winning documentary about women’s professional football directed and produced by Austin resident and local YMCA CEO Kathy Kuras, will debut on the NFL Network, Thursday, June 23, at 9pm CDT. The film’s broadcast premiere will be part of the network’s program lineup to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Title IX, the 1972 legislation that helped expand women’s participation in sports.

OPEN FIELD is an unforgettable journey into the heart of American women’s tackle football as told through the eyes of legendary quarterback Sami Grisafe, San Francisco 49ers Assistant Coach Katie Sowers and other pioneering women of the gridiron. Top coaches and players who champion a more inclusive future for football provide commentary, including Kyle Shanahan, Head Coach of the San Francisco 49ers; Franco Harris, the legendary Pittsburgh Steeler and Hall of Famer; and George Kittle, Pro Bowler with the 49ers.

In recognition of her work on the film, Kuras, who is YMCA of Austin President and CEO, received a 2021 Breaking Barriers Award from the Women’s Football Alliance, given to those outstanding women who have claimed their places among the pioneers of women’s sports, in a ceremony that took place at the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.

“We knew this incredible story had to be told,” Kuras said. “These women not only won US 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.

Title IX is a statute enacted in 1972 by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) that protects people from discrimination based on sex in education programs or activities that receive federal financial assistance.

In addition to leading the Y, Kuras is co-founder of Vanguard Muse, an independent music and film company. OPEN FIELD, her first feature documentary film, premiered at the Austin Film Festival in 2020 and won the Best Documentary Audience Award at the Riverside International Film Festival. Kathy also led the development of the first video storytelling production department for the national office of the YMCA. Vanguard Muse’s first studio album, ATLANTIS, with Sami Grisafe received 6 Grammy pre-nominations.

The OPEN FIELD soundtrack features music performed by Sami Grisafe, star of the film and also an award-winning performer and written by Sami Grisafe, Eren Cannata (Demi Lovato, Andra Day Nina Sky) and KOIL PreAmple (Timbaland, Diddy,).

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