First Match | Film School Shorts





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Published on May 21, 2014

Now a feature film - streaming on Netflix March 2018!

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Fourteen-year-old Mo is the only girl on an all-boy wrestling team. Despite her practice and training, her first high school wrestling match introduces a new challenge.
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Film School Shorts is made possible by a grant from Maurice Kanbar, celebrating the vitality and power of the moving image, and by the members of KQED. Film School Shorts is a production of KQED.

Winners never quit. The chant is a mantra for the high school wrestling team, probably no more so than for 14 year old Monique, a.k.a. Mo. Being the only girl in the recently gender integrated team, her divided world is a challenge even off the mat, as she is unable to breach a connection with other girls and is taunted by the boys. Add to this her single father, a working class ex-wrestler who takes a supportive, but cautionary, stance to his daughter’s involvement in the sport. But even amidst the headlocks and grip holds, there are things that even Mo couldn’t predict and emotions still left to wrestle.

A film by Olivia Newman.

Made at Columbia University School of the Arts.

Principal cast: Nyasa Bakker, Anslem Richardson and Zach Lombardo.

WINNER 2012 Aspen Shortsfest, Best Student Film Award
WINNER 2012 New Jersey International Film Festival, Best Short Film Award
WINNER 2011 CINE Golden Eagle Award, Student Drama
SEMI-FINALIST 2011 Angelus Awards, Best Live-Action
WINNER 2011 SimonSays Entertainment Award for Innovative Filmmaking About Underrepresented Communities
WINNER 2011 Caucus Foundation Post-Production Award
WINNER 2010 HBO Young Producers Development Award
WINNER IFC Audience Choice Award (Columbia University Film Festival, Program E)
WINNER, BEST EDITING, Student Choice Award, Columbia University Film Festival


Olivia Newman | Writer/Director
Ken Murphy | Producer
Veronica Nickel | Co-Producer
Chanelle Elaine | Co-Producer
Adam McDaid | Director of Photography
Rory Haines | Assistant Director
Fabian Almazan | Composer
Brooke Sebold | Editor


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