They played by NFL rules in NFL stadiums. They won world championships. They’re at the top of their game. What else do they have to do to level the playing field? Meet quarterback Sami Grisafe, San Francisco 49ers coach Katie Sowers and other legends of women’s tackle football who played for the love of the game against all odds. With commentary from Hall of Fame running back Franco Harris and 49ers Head Coach Kyle Shanahan, OPEN FIELD tells the story of the women who leave everything on the field in their drive for greatness, earning recognition and respect.

Growing up, Sami Grisafe was one of the boys. Captain and first female quarterback of her Division 1 high school football team. Then, three-time champion and MVP quarterback of the Team USA. Winning came easy to Sami. Opening the field to a new generation of female players was a whole different ballgame.

An epic journey into the heart of professional women’s football, OPEN FIELD introduces the world to Sami and her hard-hitting teammates as they rack up championship after championship playing by NFL rules in NFL stadiums. Yet even at the top of their game, they hit obstacles no male NFL players have ever faced. Gender stereotypes. Lack of funding and sponsorships. No unified league. And no awareness or recognition in an otherwise football-obsessed nation.

OPEN FIELD also follows Sami’s friend and former teammate Katie Sowers, currently Assistant Coach for the San Francisco 49ers and the first woman to coach in a Super Bowl. Top coaches and players who are championing a more inclusive future for football also appear, including Kyle Shanahan, Head Coach of the San Francisco 49ers; Franco Harris, the legendary Pittsburgh Steeler and Hall of Famer; and John Konecki, Head Coach of Team USA and the Chicago Force.

Meet these women of the gridiron, who carved out a path that didn’t exist and built a movement, of both women and men, who are reframing the conversation and rewriting the playbook to integrate women into the game of football. Their inspiring story will change the way you view professional football and how you define a champion.



Kathy Kuras is co-founder and executive producer with Vanguard Muse, an independent music and film company. Kathy led the development of the first video production department for the national office of the YMCA, producing stories of transformational moments in the lives of people and communities. Vanguard Muse received 6 Grammy pre-nominations for their first album, ATLANTIS, and music video selection for “Brand New Fairytale” at CIMMfest Chicago, International Film Festival North Hollywood, and Pittsburgh Independent Film Festival. OPEN FIELD is her first feature documentary film.


After interning with Sam Raimi on Drag Me to Hell (Cannes 2009), John graduated from Harvard in 2011, where he won the McCord Arts Prize. He edited One Way to Drown (executive produced by Brett Ratner), Running Wild (starring Alden Ehrenreich), and coordinated post-production for Shut Up and Drive (Tribeca 2015). His directorial feature debut, Bender (2016), cult thriller about America’s first serial killing family, won a Golden Strands award for Outstanding Cast, and John directed short thriller Suspect (2017) as a guest director at the American Film Institute. His debut documentary This Is Love (2018) has screened at 40 film festivals worldwide and won top prizes at over a dozen, including the Spirit Award at Raindance in London and Best International Documentary in Rome. John’s commercial and industrial resume includes work for Bobbi Brown Cosmetics with Kate Upton, Topshop / Zalando with Cara Delevigne, and Biohaven Pharmaceuticals. His company Crook & Nanny Productions is currently in production on Little Satchmo, upcoming feature documentary on Louis Armstrong’s secret daughter, and in development on an upcoming feminist revenge horror feature with Casadelic Pictures.


Lyndsay Hailey is a comedian, actor, writer/director, teacher of improv and sketch comedy, and professional speaker. She’s been making people laugh professionally since 2005. An alumna of the Second City National Touring Co., Lyndsay is the creator and star of critically acclaimed shows including 30% Chance of Hailey and Shaman Noodles. Lyndsay has taught all over the world, including the UK, Canada, France, Australia, Belgium, Austria, Sweden and Poland; and in Chicago and Los Angeles at the Second City, iO and iO West. She is a certified Kundalini yoga instructor and the creator of a new methodology called Presence Practice, combines improv and breath-work to help students remove blocks and awaken to their highest potential. She was awarded Best Host by Vegas Seven magazine for her role as the Female Emcee of Magic Mike Live in Las Vegas, a show she co-wrote with director Channing Tatum.


Avi Zarum launched his own production company, Zarumedia, in 2007, following roles as Creative Director with Gravida Consulting Inc., and owner and founder of Fuel Commercials. Avi has deep experience in the sports genre having produced video and graphic design content with Canadian Olympic champions including Tessa Virtue, Sarah Pavan and Melissa Humana-Paredes and as Supervising Producer with LFL Films Canada, overseeing the development and evolution of the LFL Films brand in globally-distributed promotional materials, including commercials, multimedia and broadcast content. He has also worked commercially with corporate clients such as Coca-Cola, Telus, Guess and Target. In 2017, Avi received a PROMAX BDA Silver award and nomination for the Chicago/Midwest Emmy Awards for a Comcast Sportsnet entitled ‘What an April’.

Cast Members

Sami Grisafe (Gri-SAH-fee)

World-Class Athlete and Award-Winning Artist. Sami has been described by BuzzFeed as “The most inspiring combination of sports and music you will ever see”. She gained national attention for her football accomplishments as the award-winning starting quarterback for the Chicago Force Women’s Professional Football Team. As the quarterback for Team USA, she led the U.S. Women’s National Team to 3 Gold Medal wins in the I.F.A.F. Women’s World Championship, where she was awarded the MVP twice (2013, 2017). Early in life, Sami chartered new territory as the first female in California to play quarterback in a varsity, Division I football game and was inducted into her High School Hall of Fame in 2014, one of the first and only female athletes to be inducted into a high school hall of fame for football. Grisafe’s Music has recently been featured in Showtime’s “Work in Progress”. The singer-songwriting QB was named Rock Entertainer of the Year by the Chicago Music Awards and has also received a nod from the Recording Academy, receiving 5 Grammy Pre-Nominations in 2012. In collaboration with Los Angeles-based producers, Eren Cannata and KOIL PreAmple, Sami’s first full-length studio album, Open Field, serves as the soundtrack for the feature-length documentary of the same name.

Kyle Shanahan

He began his coaching career as assistant coach for offensive quality control under head coach with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. In 2006, Shanahan was hired to serve as wide receivers coach for the Houston Texans. In 2008, Shanahan was officially promoted to offensive coordinator, becoming the youngest coordinator in the NFL. In 2010, Shanahan left the Texans to join his father, Mike Shanahan, with the Washington Football Team. 2015, the Atlanta Falcons hired Shanahan as their new offensive coordinator. In 2015, the Falcons' offense under Shanahan was the highest-scoring offense in the league in 2016 and earned an 11–5 record, a division title, and a Super Bowl LI berth against the New England Patriots. Shanahan was named the NFL Assistant Coach of the Year for the 2016 season. In 2017, one day after the Super Bowl, Shanahan became head coach for the San Francisco 49ers. In 2019 The 49ers won their first eight games of the 2019 season, making Shanahan only the third coach, along with Tom Landry and Marvin Lewis to begin 8–0 after an earlier 0–8 season start. The 49ers would go on to play in Super Bowl 54 against the Kansas City Chiefs, but lost 20-31.

Katie Sowers

She has been an offensive assistant coach with the San Francisco 49ers since 2017. She began her American football career playing in the Women's Football Alliance for the West Michigan Mayhem. Sowers also played on the 2013 Women’s U.S. National Tackle Football Team and was named MVP in the U.S.A. vs Germany game on July 4th. Team USA would go on to win the tournament and their 2nd gold medal in international play. Upon her retirement in 2016, Sowers joined the National Football League as a coach for the Atlanta Falcons training camp and remained with the team throughout the season. The Falcon’s would go to the Super Bowl that year but lose in overtime to the New England Patriots, 34-28.In June 2017 Sowers resumed working as a seasonal offensive assistant with the San Francisco 49ers until her promotion to offensive assistant in 2019. In her first season as one of the 49ers offensive assistants, the 49ers won the NFC Championship sending the 49ers to Super Bowl LIV, allowing her to become the first female and first openly gay coach in a Super Bowl.

Franco Harris

He is an American former professional football player who was a fullback in the National Football League for the Pittsburgh Steelers and Seattle Seahawks. After playing college football for the Penn State Nittany Lions, he was selected by the Steelers in the first round of the 1972 NFL Draft, the 13th overall pick. In his first season he was named Rookie of the Year. He played his first 12 years in the NFL with the Steelers; his 13th and final year was spent with the Seahawks. He was selected for nine consecutive Pro Bowls and was All Pro in 1977. The Steelers won 4 Super Bowls with Harris in the backfield. In 1975 Harris became the first African-American and Italian-American player to be a Super Bowl MVP. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1990. In 2006, The Heinz History Center, home of the Western Pennsylvania Sports Museum, installed a life-size figure of Harris in the grand concourse of Pittsburgh International Airport. The statue is a recreation of Harris's "Immaculate Reception." In 1999, he was ranked number 83 on The Sporting News' list of the 100 Greatest Football Players. In January 2011, Harris became co-owner of the Pittsburgh Passion of the Women’s Football Alliance (WFA).

The Facts

Kathy Kuras
John Alexander
Lyndsay Hailey
Avi Zarum
Director, Producer
Editor, Producer
Story Editor


Sami Grisafe
Katie Sowers
Franco Harris
and the San Francisco 49ers

Genre: Sports Documentary
Run time: 1 hour 24 minutes
Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

Shot on location over the course of 6 years with full access to practice sessions, games, private team conversations in locker room and off the field activites, including three world championships with Team USA (held in Sweden, Finland, Canada).


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