Slamdance Film Festival selection Supergirl comes to Chicago for one night only at the Arclight Cinemas as a part of the Slamdance Cinema Club.
Directed by Jessie Auritt, we get a glimpse into the life of a very unique pre-teen, Naomi Kutin. She’s not like other Orthodox girls her age. One wouldn’t expect to see a powerlifter when they look at Naomi, let alone someone who could lift three times her body weight. The girl from New Jersey made the news when she broke a world record and power-lifted 215 pounds.
This documentary doesn’t just follow Naomi’s life as a powerlifter but also her life as she grows closer to becoming a Bat Mitzvah, a woman in the eyes of Judaism. Her life isn’t without cyber bullying or battles with health issues, one of which thrusts her career into doubts.
Supergirl is a film that transcends genres: coming of age, sports, religion, and women’s empowerment. There’s so much pressure that gets placed onto children these days and the documentary looks at Naomi as she tries to figure out just who she is. Can she still be Supergirl if she’s battling health issues and can’t lift anymore?
Auritt, who makes her feature-length debut, first learned about Naomi’s story through the Jewish Daily Forward and decided that she “immediately wanted to find out more about Naomi and explore the intersection of competitive powerlifting and Orthodox Judaism in her life.”
For women and girls, this documentary can be a source of empowerment and it should serve as inspiration others. Even at her age, Naomi is a strong female and doesn’t exactly fit gender stereotypes as she pursues her dreams.
Produced by Jessie Auritt and Carmen Delaney, Supergirl is co-prooduced by Justin Levy. The documentary will air later this year on PBS as a part of the Independent Lens lineup on December 18, 2017. Other screenings can be found here.