A group of women in red football uniforms in a locker room.

Slamdance Film Review: The Herricanes

Film Reviews

Slamdance Film Review: The Herricanes
Director: Olivia Kuan

FunMeter, Wayfarer Studios, Inwood Road Films
Premiere: 01.20

The passing of Title IX, the landmark legislation addressing sex-based discrimination, brought new possibilities for women across the nation. Suddenly, women had the right to equal access in education, athletics and more. In making athletics equal, female sports teams for previously male-only athletics began to pop up. And with that, the Houston Herricanes were born.

Director Olivia Kuan seeks to tell the story of the beginnings of women’s football leagues in the United States, honing in on her mother’s home team, the Herricanes. The film opens with Kuan and her mother looking through old pictures from her days on the team. The viewer is instantly transported to Houston’s Memorial Park in 1972 through videos, pictures and reenactments of key games.

Kuan weaves a story through countless interviews with former players and coaches and more, painting a vibrant picture of the dedication and passion that was poured into the team. The use of toy football players illustrates the stories in the interviews and adds to the vintage, nostalgic feel of the film.

Not only does Kuan reminisce about the past, but she looks towards the future of women’s football. Talking to coaches and female football players in other countries, Kuan makes her audience hopeful for the future of the sport by showing the potential it has to impact women. If other countries can adopt women’s football, so can the United States.

Although an interesting story, certain parts feel rushed and improperly explored. LGBTQ+ players are acknowledged but the documentary quickly moves on from them. The narrative tread between the director and her mother is an interesting dynamic but does not feel fully fleshed out by the end of the film. These small nitpicks, however, do not take away from the unique, fascinating story that deserves a wide audience.

A sports documentary exploring a topic seldom acknowledged in the larger football sphere, The Herricanes tells the story of a group of trailblazing women who played football in a time where the idea was virtually unheard of. It leaves the audience inspired to try new things and break down stereotypes, no matter what other people might think. –Elle Cowley

Read more of SLUG‘s comprehensive coverage of the 2024 Slamdance Film Festival.