in 2016. Who can stay consistent and make a

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Megan Shutzer never intended to be a filmmaker. A Harvard and Stanford graduate in international studies, she was working and traveling in East Africa for more than two years. She always used her experience as a soccer player to connect to the people on her journey.Shutzer arrived in Zanzibar, an island in the Indian Ocean off the coast of Tanzania with a population of about a million people. There are 800 mens soccer teams on the island, and one womens team.Shutzer, who speaks Swahili, sought out the New Generation Queens, quickly striking up friendships with the young women on the team.It was a really deep and close relationship, Shutzer said. It was also just very inspiring for me. It was viewed as bad and immoral for these girls to be playing soccer. And the fact is they were still playing. They were playing against men. I thought their story was very compelling.Shutzer decided to tell it. She said because shes never produced or directed a film before, the players themselves were her partners.They were eager to share. And they were a huge part of every decision about the film, Shutzer said. I asked them Who do you want the audience to be? The people here, people abroad. They were big questions, and they were great in terms of leading me.Now when Shutzer shows her 54-minute film, which is named after the team and follows its journey to its first tournament off the island, she frequently tells the audience that it was never made for them.It was made to show the other girls in Zanzibar that you can be a woman or a girl and Muslim and still play soccer, Shutzer said. Those things arent mutually exclusive.Shell will have another opportunity to tell that story in Oakland this week, as her film is part of the lineup for the inaugural Womens Sports Film Festival.The festival, which features nine films about the womens sports experience, will play Thursday through Saturday at The New Parkway Theater in Oakland, California. It includes a main feature on Thursday -- Thursdays opening night is free -- and Friday, and then multiple short films Saturday.The festival is the creation of executive director Susan Sullivan, a Bay Area documentary filmmaker, and executive producer Jennifer Matt, a technology entrepreneur and former athlete.Sullivan happened upon a showing of Strong! the documentary about Olympic weightlifter Cheryl Haworth, in a free screening at the San Francisco Public Library three years ago. Haworth, who is now retired, took to the stage after the showing, along with director Julie Wyman, and Sullivan was hooked.It was the greatest thing Id ever seen, this powerful female athlete up there and her story being told, Sullivan said. The experience really moved me.Fast forward, Sullivan says, to another film she saw about a young Indian girl named Thulasi who wants to become a boxer, trying to lift herself out of poverty and familial expectations, and Sullivan came up with the idea for a film festival dedicated to telling extraordinary stories of female athletes.I was moved by these athletes and these stories and the filmmakers who have brought these films to the screen to share with people, Sullivan said. These were films and athletes that people have never heard of, and it was a wrong I needed to right.I wanted to go to this event. And it didnt exist. If I felt that way, other people felt that way, too.Enter Matt. Shes been an athlete her entire life -- a basketball and soccer player, a swimmer. No one had to tell her that there arent enough stories about women and girls in sports.Im a believer that girls should stay in sports longer in their lives, even if they are never going to be a professional athlete, Matt said. Its a great thing to get you through some tough years.Sullivan and Matt are running the festival themselves, from securing the location and sponsors to working directly with the filmmakers. For the most part, they have self-funded this event.The films that will be shown in Oakland have been curated and shown in other places. Three films are a work in progress, Sullivan said. Strong! will be featured, as will Light Fly, Fly High the story of the Indian boxer, along with a series of short films, including Keepers of the Game by Judd Ehrlich, which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival and is about a group of Native American girls in New York seeking to be the first Native womens team to bring home a Section Champions.Also showing will be Speed Sisters by Amber Fares, about the first all-woman race car driving team in the Middle East, and The Other Shore, which follows legendary swimmer Diana Nyad as she attempted the 103-mile non-stop swim from Cuba to Florida without the use of a shark cage.Shutzer said she watched the festival trailer in a room full of friends recently.Everyone had a grin on their face, she said. We are all so excited to see these stories, people are hungry for them. This is going to open a window into whats possible for girls and women. So rarely do we hear these stories, and yet they are out there. 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I had to come to terms with possibly going $20-30k under, but I said screw it, lets do it, said Deng.The result is the upcoming Smash event Shine 2016 on Aug. 26-28 in Boston, which has more than 1,500 players signed up for its Smash 64, Melee, and Wii U singles tournaments.New England, the underdogOther powerhouse regions have seen a plethora of large majors, but New England has not been so lucky, as it has been limited only to midsized regionals attracting a couple hundred players. Furthermore, several of New Englands top players such as Daniel KoreanDJ Jung and Dustin Darc Hayes have taken breaks away from the game. With a lack of majors and top players, many dismissed New Englands ambition to be a prominent Smash region.Yet, a few people saw potential in the region because of the dozens of colleges densely concentrated in the area. Matthew Zaborowski started The Melee Games, a bi-annual Melee event which gathers several local colleges together to compete. Tournaments run almost every day in college campuses, bars and even churches. While the region doesnt claim household names such as Joseph Mango Marquez or Juan Hungrybox DeBiedma as its own, the New England region has seen several breakout stars hone their craft at these local events.One of these up-and-coming hometown heroes is Jason Numbers Gauthier, who surprised everyone with his incredible ninth-place finish at Pound 2016, where he defeated McCain MacD LaVelle, Michael MikeHaze Pulido, and Hendrick DJ Nintendo Pilar. While in general Melee players were surprised to see such a performance from a random, the New Enngland players knew perfectly well that he was capable of making such a run.dddddddddddd Meanwhile, more experienced New England players such as James Mafia Lauerman continue to make waves at tournaments. Most recently, Mafia finished ninth at Super Smash Con 2016, where he defeated Jeffrey Axe Williamson in what was considered one of the biggest upsets of the entire event.Who will shine in Boston?Whereas regions such as Southern California can be seen as the Golden State Warriors of Melee, the New England region sees itself as more of the Minnesota Timberwolves, a group brimming with potential. Shine 2016 will be the opportunity for the region to showcase rising talent that would never have this level of exposure due to the cost of travel.The New England scene will have stiff competition, however. Shine 2016 will be incredibly stacked, with a majority of the Melee top 25 in attendance. Hungrybox, Mango, and Jason Mew2King Zimmerman will headline the star-studded lineup; Mango currently has the last major victory at Super Smash Con 2016 where he defeated Hungrybox in two clean sets.Returning from brief hiatuses, Justin Plup McGrath, James Duck Ma, and James Swedish Delight Liu will also attend Shine 2016 along with a slew of other strong players. With several players in negotiations with esports teams for new contracts, Shine 2016 will be pivotal in adding bargaining chips to impact their new salaries.While the gods top the charts of majors, everyone else has had their ups and downs in 2016. Who can stay consistent and make a strong push in their campaigns for the end-of-the-year rankings? Will Mango repeat as champion or will he fall to Hungrybox or to another god-slayer? As New England players finally get an opportunity to show their skills, will they make pivotal upsets in pools? 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