ABOUT THE FILM
This documentary is the story of Zanzibar's women's soccer team, the New Generation Queens. The movie examines the history and culture around women's soccer in Zanzibar. It also follows the team to mainland Tanzania, where the Queens participate in a tournament for the first time and several hope to be recruited to the Tanzanian national team.
I think this is one of those films that we always need to see in a place like Zanzibar. One, it actually allows for Zanzibaris themselves to hear from themselves ... This is a rare thing in many ways. In the sense that the women themselves get to speak about their own lives....This is the voice of the women and the people of Zanzibar and they speak from their heart... It is the language and the voice that comes out of the depth of your heart so to say, and for me this is the type of film that I would show at ZIFF any time. Karibu sana, my dear.
- Martin Mhando. Director, Zanzibar International Film Festival, Associate Professor of Media Studies, Murdoch University
LETTER FROM THE DIRECTOR
I first met the New Generation Queens when I traveled to Zanzibar for work in 2011. Fields dot the island, and every day I would see Zanzibaris playing on them, as well as on beaches, school grounds and in alleyways. Within hours of arriving in Zanzibar I had seen tens of soccer fields, but no women playing. I began to ask whether women played soccer in Zanzibar, and although most people would shake their heads and say no, every now and then someone would tell me, "Yes! There is a team." Eventually I found the New Generation Queens, sharing a field with a men's team and practicing outside the Zanzibar prison grounds. I laced up my cleats and joined them.
Sport is a powerful connector. Through soccer, I came to know more about Zanzibar and its culture than I had thought possible. I also got to know the girls on the New Generation Queens and I was quickly impressed with their tenacity and commitment. These girls are truly badass. For the New Generation Queens, playing soccer is not just a casual sport. Though Islam itself does not forbid women from playing soccer, many Zanzibaris interpret women's soccer as "immoral" on religious grounds. For this reason, the New Generation Queens face opposition from their families and communities. Yet the Queens defy the odds to participate. It is one of the few places where they can truly embrace their strength as women. They want to prove to the rest of the island that they can be women, athletes and Muslims.
After hearing about their struggles and their commitment to sharing this message with other girls on the island, the New Generation Queens and I decided to make this movie. I convinced a few talented friends to join me and returned to Zanzibar several times between 2011 and 2015 to film. The crew has grown to include a number of exceptional post-production editors and musicians to whom I am beyond grateful.
Megan Shutzer, Director
"Women's Sports Film Festival aims to show extraordinary stories, shared experiences" on ESPN.com (July 27, 2016)
"Passion to Play" on Women's World Football Show - interview begins at 1 hr 4 min (September 1, 2015)
"#LOVEFUTBOL INTERVIEW WITH DOCUMENTARY FILMMAKER MEGAN SHUTZER" on Love.futbol (July 7, 2015)
"5 Questions with women's soccer documentarian: Megan Shutzer" by Howard Megdal, Capital New York (June 29, 2015)
"The New Generation Queens: a Zanzibar soccer story" by Abby Higgs, Autostraddle (June 19, 2015)
"New Generation: Women's Football in Zanzibar"
International Museum of Women (September 20, 2013)
"Veils and Cleats: Zanzibar's New Generation Queens" (October 8, 2013)
"Veils and Cleats: A Zanzibar Soccer Story"
Stanford International Policy Review (September 24, 2014)
This film was made possible with generous gifts from The Abbasi Program in Islamic Studies at Stanford University, Stanford Global Studies and the Global Perspectives Fund of the Friends of Stanford University in Taiwan Foundation, the Mountain School Garden Hill Fund, as well as 107 backers on Kickstarter. Thank you for your support!