The Anderson Monarchs will be a feature length documentary about an all-girls soccer team competing, living, and thriving in an at-risk urban neighborhood in Philadelphia. The Anderson Monarchs play soccer with virtually no funding on a borrowed patch of field just like the great players of the world did when they were children - Messi, Rooney, and Marta. But they have something special, a sisterhood that is supported by their community of parents and their coach, Walter Stewart. And they win all the time against well heeled suburban opponents. Nominated in 2008 by Sports Illustrated as Sports Team of the year, they were also hailed as "the future of American soccer" in the London newspaper, The Guardian.
Over three years, we follow five girls, their families, and their dedicated head coach, Walter Stewart. Coach Walt gave up a partnership in a prestigious Philadelphia law firm to become an elementary school teacher and coach all three Select teams of The Anderson Monarchs year round. His story and the story of the girls who play on the Monarchs are intimate, personal, and profound. One supporter calls the film "soccer as ballet meets justice".
About the Anderson Monarchs:
Named after Marian Anderson and Jackie Robinson's Negro League baseball team, they are the only all girls, nationally competitive African-American soccer club in the US. Their recent accomplishments include the placement of five team members in the Olympic Development Program for US Women's national soccer. The Monarchs don't just play power soccer under very harsh conditions in inner city Philadelphia; they are setting standards in academics, leadership, and community. The best players are now moving into soccer academies and several are playing in the ECNL, the national league for girls soccer.
Kiarah Cannady, 16, describes her team’s soccer field "as a patch of dirt with drug dealers nearby and litter-strewn streets." It’s a far cry from the grassy fields most organized soccer teams play on, but it’s home field for the Anderson Monarchs Girls Soccer Club. (quote from the Denton Record Chronicle) Kairah's goal is to attend Dartmouth College. And you know what? She will!
Danesha Adams of the Womens Pro Soccer Team The Independence just wrote to us and said:
"I really appreciate what you are doing with all of these young girls. I was that girl once who lacked self esteem and confidence at a young age and just watching the clips of the film has touched me in so many different ways. I just think it is great that you are giving these kids an opportunity to get involved in such a great sport such as soccer".
What Danesha wrote is exactly what we want to happen. How can you help?
Why are we using Kickstarter? Simple. We are making an independent film and we want to keep it that way. The Anderson Monarchs film is more than a sports film, its a film about social justice. The Monarchs are creating a level playing field for girls everywhere. With the funds we raise here, we can move to the finish line after three long years of filming over 500 hours of material. It's time to get into the expensive part of the editing. The funds will be used to complete the massive job of film editing and color correction (since we had to shoot on 7 different cameras), record the soundtrack, do the sound mix, and get the film ready for film festivals by early Fall. Along the way we will share with you stories about our progress at www.theandersonmonarchs.com
The director, Eugene Martin, just attended the Sundance Film Festival as a Documentary Directing Fellow. We now have the talented composer Mario Grigorov, who did the score for the Academy Award Nominated film, "Precious", on board. We also have four time Emmy Award winning editor Ed Givnish. Play the sneak preview above to see and hear their amazing contributions to this project.
"Like" our page on Facebook, embed and share via twitter. It takes a village and we need your help to succeed.
From Director Eugene Martin:
When my daughter Sophie was 6, she decided to try out and play soccer in our neighborhood. But there was one tiny problem. She didn't like her coach and decided she would not listen to him. So, with her permission, I started to help out. Now, I was a total novice. I stuck with it, and by age 9 we had a travel or select team together. And we were pretty good! We started to play this team called The Anderson Monarchs. And they would beat us 5-0, 4-0, even 8-0! Every time we played them my team would go, "oh on, not them!" They were always so amazing! So, I got to know the coach, Walter Stewart, and by the time the girls were 12 and 13, the girls from the two teams started to become friends and see each other at games and tournaments. I dug deeper, and realized The Monarchs were the only all girls African American soccer club in the US. As I was doing research for the film, a writer from Sports Illustrated came by the field one day, and started to ask questions about the team. Two weeks later he had nominated them for Sports Team of the Year. That is when I knew this was something special!
This photo is my old team that I coached for my daughter when we played with the Monarchs down at the Marian Anderson Rec Center in Feb 2008. I had a vision to bring our communities together. My hope is the film will do the same, but on a world scale. Oh, I just found out that several of my former players, now in high school, play with several Monarchs on their high school team including Kairah and Nafessa Cannady whose photo is up top.
Thank you for your consideration.
photos Janos Schmidt