Denver Arts & Venues and Sisters on Track Present a Free Community Film Screening, Panel Discussion: Panelists discuss the importance of mentorship for young women of color

En español

Denver Arts & Venues is pleased to present a community screening of Netflix original, “Sisters on Track,” followed by a panel discussion about the value of mentorship for young women at McNichols Civic Center Building Sept. 17, 1 p.m. The panel will include film co-director Corinne van der Borch, impact team co-director Shanon Heckethorn, Jeuness 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 Stephanie Tavares-Rance, president of Run&Shoot Filmworks.

The event is free, but attendees are asked to register on Eventbrite

“Sisters on Track” touches upon critical themes that affect our youth including the power of education, and how sports build confidence in girls. 

“This film really showcases how much young women can achieve when they are not only given a chance, but also given encouragement and support,” said coach Jean E. Bell. “Through my nearly 40 years coaching through Jeuness Track Club, I have seen first-hand how much mentorship means to young women, giving them strength and helping them build the self-esteem it takes to make it in our world.”

The “Sisters on Track” creative team has leveraged the film into a social impact campaign that focuses on mentorship, education and athletics. “With better grades, less truancy and higher likelihood of college success, students with mentors show tangible success in school,” explained Shanna Shelby, Denver Arts & Venues program administrator and curator of McNichols Building exhibitions. “As a mother of three young women of color, the themes of the film and the social impact campaign are especially 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 sports and mentorship, inspiring more people to fulfill mentorship and coaching roles in their communities.

“We are so excited to bring ‘Sisters on Track’ and this panel to Denver,” said film 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.”

People interested in the event unable to attend in person may watch the film on Netflix prior to the event and join the panel discussion online through Facebook live (Denver Arts & Venues Facebook page) at 3 p.m.

About the Film
“Sisters on Track” follows the three Sheppard sisters, Tai (12), Rainn (11) and Brooke (10) from the 2016 media storm that propels them into the national spotlight, when all three are chosen to be the Sports Illustrated Kids of the Year, into their final years of Junior High. The film offers a rare intimate glimpse into a tight-knit Brooklyn family’s journey to recover from trauma and tragedy moving away from their life in a shelter. Guided by coach Jean Bell and her Jeuness Track Club, who inspires them to beat the odds, dream big and aim for higher education, the girls are finding their voices as athletes and as young adults. At the heart of the story is the bond between a family and a whole community of women, passing the baton of self-empowerment through track and field, 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 City College of New York (CUNY), in Harlem. She began running track in junior high school, and also competed in high school and college. During that time, Jean also joined the Atoms Track Club of Brooklyn, and began running more competitive meets both locally and nationally, while also coaching a track team for girls under the auspices of the Catholic Youth Organization (CYO). After completing college, Jean attended Brooklyn Law School and graduated with a Juris Doctorate degree in 1983. After passing the New York State bar exam that same year, she began practicing law while she continued to coach the CYO team. She began her own club in 1985, founding the Jeuness Track Club using her own money to register the team, enter the team in meets, and buy uniforms and gear. As the team grew, Jean added team members and support, while she continued to practice law. In 1993, she became an Administrative Law Judge with the New York State Department of Labor and continues to serve as the head coach of Jeuness Track Club of Brooklyn, New York.

Corinne van der Borch is an award-winning Dutch director 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 consulting editor and Albert Maysles as her mentor. The film won the main award at DOC NYC in 2011. Since then, Sam Pollard has been a mentor to Corinne and a generous guiding light throughout the entire filmmaking process of SISTERS ON TRACK. She is setting up a grassroots impact campaign around the launch of SISTERS ON TRACK on Netflix, with the hope that the film will give people a greater understanding of the value of mentorship and coaching through sports, inspiring more people to fulfill this role in their communities.

Shanon Heckethorn, a friend to both co-directors of Sisters on Track, brings to the team her varied and extensive experience as a not-for-profit executive and fundraiser. After graduating from the all-women’s Simmons University, she moved to Denver and began her professional career at the Denver Children’s Museum, where she first developed her passion for philanthropy and not-for-profit work. She brings to the Sisters on Track team a wide range of experience in formulating donor and sponsorship programs. A collaborative leader, she has a track record of building highly productive, motivated teams of paid-staff and volunteers who work in unison to actualize 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 member of the founding board of GALS and a previous board member. Most recently, Carol served as the COO of KIPP Colorado Schools, was the Director of Curriculum and Career Services at GlobaLinks Learning Abroad, and a consultant for the National Center for Women and Information Technology. Prior to living overseas with her family (Australia, 2012), she was President & CEO of Girls Inc. of Metro Denver. Additional past positions include Vice President, Program Services at Girls Inc. of Metro Denver, Director of Training, Education and Community Service Programs at Up with People, Policy Assistant for the Governor’s Office (Roy Romer, CO), Field Director at KaBoom!, and Program Officer for the Corella and Bertram F. Bonner Foundation. Carol received her bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, and her master’s degree in education from the University of Colorado at Boulder. She loves the quote, “What you do today is important, because you are exchanging a day of your life for it.” She is an avid hiker and runner, and spends her free time adventuring in Colorado with her family.

Stephanie Tavares-Rance (moderator) began her career in entertainment after college in 1990, working in the A&R Department at SBK/EMI Records. In 1999, Stephanie became the Marketing Director at Larry Flynt’s CODE Magazine, a fabulous, but short-lived, lifestyle magazine for men of color. It was at this time that she realized that her calling was in brand marketing and event planning and established the creative outlet Run&Shoot Filmworks with her husband Floyd A.B.Rance III. Founded in 2002, the Run&Shoot Filmworks’ academy award-accredited Martha's Vineyard AA film festival is one of the premiere film festivals in the country. Recognized for their impeccable selection of films, premiere screenings and welcoming environment, Stephanie and Floyd have made a lasting mark in 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 proceeded to produce outstanding visual work for several clients, including Family Dollar, HBO, Martell Cognac, Reebok (Allen Iverson and NY Giants) and Footlocker. Stephanie has won numerous awards in digital marketing and was most recently awarded a Black Woman in Media award and a Denver Mayor’s Award for Excellence in Arts & Culture for her work with the film festival and supporting the works of people of color.