April 1, 2017 - National Pro Fastpitch (NPF) - Akron Racers
AKRON, OH - On a rainy Friday night in Akron, the stars shined bright and the spotlight even brighter at the world premiere of "Burn the Ships". In front of a packed house at the Akron-Summit County Public Library, Think Media Studios' documentary about the Akron Racers opened at the 41st Cleveland International Film Festival to rousing ovations and rave reviews.
"I thought it was really well made, it really captured the spirit of women's sports and it was all around excellent," Juliana Fierro said.
"Burn the Ships", produced by Think Media Studios' Danielle Miller and Julia Thorndike, used the backdrop of the 2015 Racers season to chronicle the long and storied history of women's professional softball beginning with the International Women's Professional Softball Association in 1976 all the way up to the NPF as it exists today. Showcasing the drive of those dedicated to see the sport succeed do what it takes to overcome the many obstacles that continue to stand in the way.
After being one of the players followed for more than a year to be featured in the film, Akron third baseman Kelley Montalvo was thrilled to get to see the completed film for the first time.
"It was mind blowing in the sense that a project that I spent years doing with them and all the hard work of Danielle and Julia, finally the story came together and it's just inspirational," Montalvo said. "I was overwhelmed, excited, nervous and the message was clearly given.
"It was everything I expected and wanted."
The film made a tremendous impact on a wide variety of fans and viewers of the film on its first night in Akron.
"It really inspired me. I didn't know all that stuff about the Racers," said Sarah Welker, an aspiring softball player.
"I thought it was wonderful, as a woman we understand the struggle, but to see how much of their own time and effort they put in really impressed me," said Welker's mom, Jen Urban.
The film will still be shown two more times in Cleveland at Tower City Cinemas at 11:10 a.m. on Sunday, April 2 and 4:15 p.m. on Monday, April 3, hoping to repeat the reception it received in Akron.
"(The film) was fantastic, such an inspiration to see all these girls being amazing inspirations to young girls and keep moving on," James A. Garfield junior softball player Katie Synnestvedt said.
The film's release also coincided with the Racers announcing that online ticket sales would open Saturday, April 1. Fans who buy their tickets online at the team's website at www.akronracers.org, are encouraged to print their tickets or to download them onto their smart phone.