Portland-based Filmmakers Announce We Grew Wings Debut Showings in Portland
Women’s track and field documentary is set for Portland showings at the Hollywood Theater on July 15th, 22nd and 29th.
All shows begin at 7pm.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT:
Jessica Zutz – 302.547.2786 – firstname.lastname@example.org
Portland, OR (July 10, 2012) – We Grew Wings, a unique documentary film chronicling the untold story of the University of Oregon (UO) women’s track and field team and the progression of women’s sports over the last 40 years since Title IX’s passing, will make its Portland debut at the Hollywood Theater with showings on July 15th, 22nd and 29th.
We Grew Wings is a story of camaraderie, teamwork, struggles and triumphs by Portland-based filmmakers. Executive producer, Ellen Schmidt-Devlin, teamed with directors/producers Erich Lyttle and Sarah Henderson, who brought in narrator Katharine Ross, to tell this fascinating and often overlooked story of the University of Oregon women’s track and field team. Ellen Schmidt-Devlin, an accomplished UO runner during the late seventies, envisioned the need to tell the story of an incredible era in women’s track and field. Over the past two years she has worked closely with the creative team, compiling interviews, film clips and searching archives to enrich this timely film.
While the well-known UO men’s track and field dominated the spotlight, the early women’s track program strove to break new ground just as Title IX was presenting challenges and opportunities for universities across the country. Former athletes Leann Warren, Quenna Beasley, Claudette Groenendaal and Grace Bakari talk about breaking barriers, sharing the track with the male athletes, and how their success at Hayward Field helped direct their future successes in life. The film goes behind-the-scenes to reveal the varying opportunities and challenges of today’s female track and field athlete, providing an inside look at their personal pursuit of the Olympic dream and the gratifying lessons of “team.” The project received valuable consultation from the past UO Women’s Head Coach, Tom Heinonen, as well as current track and field icon, Vin Lananna.
Each of the Portland showings will focus on a particular theme of the film: the sport of running, the contributions made by the local Portland arts community, and inspiring the next generation of female athletes.
Erich Lyttle is an Emmy Award winning director, writer and producer with almost 30 years of experience crafting documentaries, television series and films. He has a deep knowledge of the track and field world, directing Fire on the Track: The Steve Prefontaine Story, Builderman, a
perspective of Bill Bowerman’s life, and co-producing There is No Finish Line, the Joan Benoit Samuelson story with filmmaker, Sarah Henderson.
In her feature directorial debut, Sarah Henderson also serves as director of photography and music supervisor on We Grew Wings combining a beautiful arrangement of photography and music. Her direction brought some renowned musicians into the project, led by composer John Morgan Askew, and such artists as Radiation City (voted Portland’s best new band by Willamette Week, courtesy of Tender Loving Empire), Cory Gray of Carcrashlander, Rebecca Gates, Obo Addy and Naomi Shelton and The Gospel Queens (courtesy of Daptone Records). Narrator Katharine Ross (The Graduate, Donny Darko) blends her voice with the stellar soundtrack mixed by musician and sound designer, Jason Wells, artfully connecting the story’s mirrored generations from sound to picture.
We Grew Wings made its world premiere in Eugene, Oregon during the 2012 U.S. Track and Field Olympic Trials. Film narrator Katharine Ross, 2012 800m Olympian Alysia Montaño, and Olympic Trials 5000m finalist Lauren Fleshman all attended the premiere. In addition, several athletes featured in the film including Quenna Beasley, Claudette Groenendaal, Kathy Hayes, Melissa Gergel, and Mandy White were present at the premiere. After seeing the film, Lauren Fleshman said, “This is a film every mother should bring her daughter to see.”
About We Grew Wings
“We Grew Wings” is a documentary film chronicling the untold story of the championship-level University of Oregon women’s track and field teams.
The movie encompasses personal interviews, never-before seen event footage and a historical view of the Women of Oregon. “We Grew Wings” is a story of camaraderie, teamwork, personal struggles and personal triumphs. The film showcases the differences and similarities between two generations of athletes. These women faced it all to be champions – - often in the shadows of the men’s programs.
While the well-known University of Oregon men’s track and field dominated the spotlight, the early women’s track program strove to break new ground just as Title IX was presenting new challenges and opportunities for universities across the country. 2012 marks the 40th anniversary of Title IX and “We Grew Wings” provides a unique look at the inside of women’s sports during those changes. This is the first time that many of these stories have been told.
The project was created and has been led by Executive Producer Ellen Schmidt-Devlin. She sought out Portland filmmakers Erich Lyttle and Sarah Henderson, who had just wrapped up “There is No Finish Line,” a documentary about running legend Joan Benoit Samuelson.
Sarah Henderson brings over fifteen years of editorial, documentary, corporate and fine art still photography experience to the project. She also has several years of shooting, producing and creative directing for motion picture projects for clients including Fuel, ESPN, Intel and Nike.
Erich Lyttle is an Emmy Award winning director, writer and producer with almost 30 years of experience crafting documentaries, television series and films. In the past several years, he has completed four feature length documentaries and a feature length dramatic film.
The stories are personal, moving and sometimes humorous. Former athletes Leann Warren, Quenna Beasley, Claudette Groenendaal and Grace Bakari talk about breaking barriers, sharing the track with the male athletes and how their success at Hayward Field helped direct their future successes in life. The film also follows present-day athletes Jamesha Youngblood, Jordan Hassay, Melissa Gergel and English Gardner who provide an inside view at their personal pursuit of the Olympic dream.
While “We Grew Wings” has a significant focus on the past, filming didn’t wrap up until April 7th so current athletes could be seen in action. Throughout filming, the movie brought former and current athletes together several times so the viewer is witness to the bonds that keep the history of women’s sport alive and moving forward.