No Man’s Land Film Festival


By Brigitte Rogers
NFL Films Player and Talent Relations Coordinator


Men Beware! This is No Man’s Land Film Festival, an all-woman adventure film festival showcasing film makers from across the globe who feature radical women in the adventure arena.


On June 13th, W.I.N. (Women’s Interactive Network) hosted the No Man’s Land Film Festival for NFL Films employees in Mount Laurel, N.J. Over 80 guests gathered in the Ed Sabol Theatre in anticipation of watching the tenacious women they read about moments before in the Broadway worthy Playbill created by the ladies of W.I.N.


A soft pretzel and a bag of popcorn in hand, I shuffled my way past the seated guests to claim the last seat on the aisle. The adventure-themed soundtrack pulled from the NFL Films music library playing throughout the theatre served as a prelude to the evening. The lights dimmed and the room grew silent – except for the sounds of continuous munching and crunching on what seemed like endless free snacks. As the screen went black I nestled further into my seat.



Margo Hayes is brought to tears in an emotional outburst of relief after a vehemently grueling climb – she’s made history as the first woman to climb a confirmed 5.15 rated route. At the age of 19 standing no taller than 5’3’ Hayes climbed “La Rambla’ in Siurana, Spain, one of the most technical climbs in the world. The words “Holy S#@! that’s awesome” came to mind, a cerebral thought, I know.
Next up, Quincy, a film about a (then) 5-year-old girl who has already become a champion surfer, making Point Break now my second favorite cult-classic surfing movie – although I never tire of seeing Keanu Reeves in his half-worn wetsuit.


Throughout the evening we watched a total of 12 short films; for 90-minutes we were bewitched by the world’s most boundless women in adventure sports; from photographers to rock climbers, tri-athletes, and cinematographers – all who know no limit to what they can achieve. The women proved that even ballet dancing is a formidable sport.


We took a short break to hear from guest speaker, Krystle Wright, Adventure Sports Photographer, Director and Producer of Where the Wild Things Play, and featured subject in The Mysteries. Krystle was candid in her discussion. She talked about the love of her work, how she discovered her passion for sports photography and the fact that she never apologizes for going after her dreams, but she also shared the darker side of chasing a never-ending adventure – it gets lonely, relationships suffer and there are no guarantees; the long days and nights spent in an airport are far from exciting. No doubt the unrelenting pursuit of happiness doesn’t go without sacrifice. Is it worth it? After listening to Krystle speak, I’d say for her it is.



The show continued with more compelling stories – closing with Elevate the Game, a film about our very own Hannah Epstein, NFL Films first and only female staff cinematographer, by Producer Angela Torma and edited by Video Editor Heidi Bahnck, both part of the NFL Films’ staff.


The evening concluded with a brief Q&A from the audience. Guests of different age groups and genders asked Krystle about her life, her choices and her greatest fears. Turns out there isn’t much Krystle is afraid of – a shocking discovery considering I had easily conjured up 150 things about her lifestyle that would frighten the F#%! out of me, but we all have something to be afraid of, and for Krystle, it’s regret. Her best advice to the audience – don’t apologize for who you are or what you want to accomplish. Don’t be afraid of the word NO and never give up on your passions.


The evening was every bit exciting as I thought it would be. The films are dynamic, inspirational, thought-provoking and beautifully shot. Collectively they throw a sucker punch right in the face of the idea that women are frail, docile little things; they support the undisputable claim that the power and strength of a woman are no different than a man’s – and that women are undoubtedly fierce.


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