Born to Play, a new documentary from out filmmaker Viridiana Lieberman, follows the Boston Renegades, a scrappy and inspiring women’s tackle football team fighting for a comeback after losing the previous championship game at the tail end of an undefeated season. The unpaid players who make up the Renegades balance their day jobs and responsibilities while devoting as much time as they can to the sport that they love.
The film features women who represent various races and sexual identities, range in age from 19 to 49, and share a devotion to football, a game from which women are notoriously shut out.
Leiberman has edited documentaries including Fattitude, I Am Evidence, and The Sentence. Her book Sports Heroines on Film: A Critical Study of Cinematic Women Athletes, Coaches and Owners stands alone as a resource on the depiction of women in sports.
“To step into this world and watch these women unapologetically create their own destiny in a sport that has yet to acknowledge them is crucial,” Lieberman said in a release. “It is my hope that this story will not only help shine a light on this team and this sport, but also add to a larger conversation of unity, agency and the power of perseverance in creating the world we want to live in.”
Regarding highlighting the queer women on the team, Lieberman told The Advocate, “For decades the queer media landscape was about coming out and how hard it was to be out. I’m excited to have a film that is matter-of-fact in every way.”
“Yes, this is a women’s football team. Yes, some of them are queer. Yes, they’re all powerful athletes who put everything on the line to live their dream,” she said. “My goal was to make a film that doesn’t ask for permission and doesn’t apologize.”
Watch the trailer for Born to Play below. The film’s world premiere is tonight at 9 Eastern on ESPN.