Denver Arts & Venues will present a community screening of the Netflix original, “Sisters on Track,” followed by a panel discussion on the value of mentorship for young women at the McNichols Civic Center Building on September 17, 1 p.m.
The panel will include the film’s co-director Corinne van der Borch, Impact Team co-director Shanon Heckethorn, Youth Track Club founder Jean E. Bell and Girls Athletic Leadership School executive director Carol Bowar and a representative from Girls on the Run Rockies (TBA), and will be moderated by Stéphanie Tavares-Rance, President of Run&Shoot Filmworks.
The event is free, but attendees are asked to register on Eventbrite.
“Sisters on Track” addresses critical themes that affect our young people, including the power of education and how sport builds girls’ confidence.
“This movie really shows what young women can accomplish when they not only have a chance, but encouragement and support,” said coach Jean E. Bell. “During my nearly 40 years of coaching with the Youth Track Club, I have seen how much mentoring means to young women, giving them strength and helping them develop the necessary self-esteem to succeed in our world.”
The “Sisters on Track” creative team leveraged the film in a social impact campaign focused on mentorship, education and athletics. “With higher grades, less truancy, and a greater likelihood of success in college, students with mentors show tangible success in school,” explained Shanna Shelby, Denver Arts & Venues program administrator. and Curator of the McNichols Building Exhibits. “As a mother of three young women of color, the themes of the film and the social impact campaign are particularly important to me.”
Through the #anybodyseethedream social impact campaign, the film aims to support the voices of women and girls who are educated and empowered through sport and mentorship, inspiring more people to fulfill mentoring and coaching roles in their communities.
“We’re thrilled to bring ‘Sisters on Track’ and this panel to Denver,” said director Corinne van der Borch. “The film itself is about empowering young women, but with two female directors, all female film subjects, and an almost all-female executive production team, the creation of the film was also about empowering women.”
Those interested in the event who cannot attend in person can watch the film on Netflix prior to the event and join the panel discussion online via Facebook Live (Denver Arts & Venues Facebook page) at 3 p.m.
“Sisters on Track” follows the three Sheppard sisters, Tai (12), Rainn (11) and Brooke (10) from the 2016 media storm that propelled them into the national spotlight, when all three were chosen to be Sports Illustrated. Kids of the Year, in their senior years of college. The film offers a rare, intimate glimpse into a close-knit Brooklyn family’s journey to recover from trauma and tragedy by stepping away from life in a shelter. Guided by coach Jean Bell and her Youth Athletics Club, who inspires them to defy the odds, dream big and aim for higher education, the girls find their voice as athletes and as young adults. At the heart of the story is the bond between a family and an entire community of women, passing the baton of empowerment through athletics, from generation to generation of hopeful young girls.
About the panelists
Jean E. Bell was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, (Bedford-Stuyvesant), the fourth of five children. She attended Erasmus Hall High School in Brooklyn and the City College of New York (CUNY), in Harlem. She started track running in middle school and also competed in high school and college. During this time, Jean also joined the Atoms Track Club of Brooklyn and began organizing more competitive competitions locally and nationally, while coaching a girls’ track and field team under the auspices of the Catholic Youth Organization (CYO) . After graduating from college, Jean attended Brooklyn Law School and earned a Juris Doctorate in 1983. After passing the New York State Bar Examination that same year, she began practicing law while continuing to coach the CYO team. She started her own club in 1985, founding the Jeuness Track Club using her own money to register the team, enter the team in competitions, and purchase uniforms and equipment. As the team grew, Jean added team members and support, while continuing to practice law. In 1993, she became an administrative law judge with the New York State Department of Labor and continues to be the head coach of the Youth Track Club in Brooklyn, New York.
Corinne van der Borch is an award-winning Dutch filmmaker based in Brooklyn who graduated with an MFA from the School of Visual Arts in 2009. Corinne’s feature debut was Girl with Black Balloons, about the oldest resident of the Chelsea Hotel, with Alan Berliner as editor and Albert Maysles as mentor. The film won the main award at DOC NYC in 2011. Since then, Sam Pollard has been Corinne’s mentor and generous guide through the process of making SISTERS ON TRACK. She’s setting up a grassroots impact campaign around the launch of SISTERS ON TRACK on Netflix, in hopes the film will inspire people to better understand the value of mentorship and coaching through sport, further inspiring people to fulfill this role in their communities. .
Shanon Heckethorn, a friend of the two co-directors of Sisters on Track, brings to the team her varied and extensive experience as a nonprofit leader and fundraiser. After graduating from Simmons University for Women, she moved to Denver and began her professional career at the Denver Children’s Museum, where she first developed her passion for philanthropy and nonprofit work. She brings to the Sisters on Track team extensive experience in the formulation of donor and sponsorship programs. A collaborative leader, she has a proven track record of building highly productive and motivated teams of paid staff and volunteers who work in unison to achieve an organization’s vision and mission. She has cultivated long-term partnerships with companies and organizations like Airbnb and Ronald McDonald House Charities.
Carol Bowar is thrilled to be the Executive Director of Girls Athletic Leadership School (GALS) 6-12 after serving as a founding GALS board member and past board member. Most recently, Carol served as Director of Operations for KIPP Colorado Schools, Director of Curriculum and Career Services at GlobaLinks Learning Abroad, and Consultant for the National Center for Women and Information Technology. Prior to living overseas with her family (Australia, 2012), she was President and CEO of Girls Inc. of Metro Denver. Other past positions include Vice President of Program Services at Girls Inc. of Metro Denver, Director of Training, Education and Community Service Programs at Up with People, Policy Assistant for the Office of the governor (Roy Romer, CO), field director at KaBoom!, and program officer for the Corella and Bertram F. Bonner Foundation. Carol earned her BA in English from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, and her MA in Education from the University of Colorado at Boulder. She loves the quote, “What you do today matters because you trade a day of your life for it.” She is an avid hiker and runner and spends her free time venturing around Colorado with her family.
Stephanie Tavares-Rance (moderator) began her entertainment career after college in 1990, working in the A&R department at SBK/EMI Records. In 1999, Stephanie became Marketing Director of Larry Flynt’s CODE magazine, a fabulous but short-lived lifestyle magazine for men of color. It was during this time that she realized her calling was brand marketing and event planning and established the creative outlet Run&Shoot Filmworks with her husband Floyd ABRance III. Founded in 2002, Martha’s Vineyard AA Film Festival, accredited by Run&Shoot Filmworks Academy, is one of the nation’s premier film festivals. Known for their impeccable film selection, premiere screenings and welcoming environment, Stephanie and Floyd have left a lasting mark on the entertainment industry. In addition to the film festival on Martha’s Vineyard and their new festival in Denver, called The Color Of Conversation Film Series, Stephanie and Floyd have also produced outstanding visual work for several clients, including Family Dollar, HBO, Martell Cognac, Reebok (Allen Iverson and NY Giants) and Footlocker. Stephanie has won numerous digital marketing awards and recently received a Black Woman in Media Award and a Denver Mayor’s Award for Excellence in Arts and Culture for her work with the film festival and her support of works by people of color.