2019 Sundance Docs in Focus: MAIDEN

Courtesy of Sundance Institute | photo by Tracy Edwards

Alex Holmes tells the story of a pioneering all-female yacht racing team.

Festival Section:

Sundance Program Description:

MAIDEN thrilled audiences at the Toronto International Film Festival last year with its remarkable story of empowerment and perseverance. Through extensive archival footage and deeply personal interviews, this stunning documentary pieces together a suspenseful, poignant, and uplifting journey that speaks to the abiding tenacity of the human spirit.

In the late 1980s, amateur British sailor Tracy Edwards decided she’d had enough of being dismissed and belittled as the only woman on the seafaring crews she’d participated in. Setting her sights on the upcoming Whitbread Round the World Race – a staggering 40,000-nautical-mile circumnavigation of the earth that few boats dared tackle – Tracy assembled the world’s first international all-female sailing crew and entered the competition. As they weathered not only life-threatening high seas but also a storm of sexism in the media, this inspiring group of women had to rely on their own pure resilience – and each other – to prove the naysayers and skeptics wrong. What they hadn’t quite expected, however, was how their expedition would come to signify so much more than just a race to the finish line.

Some Background:

  • Alex Holmes

    This is the third feature doc for the BAFTA-winning Holmes.


  • Victoria Gregory
    Past Sundance docs:

    MAN ON WIRE (2008)

    New Black Films’ Gregory also line produced Sundance doc alum SENNA (2011).

Associate Producer:

  • Sam Brayshaw

    This marks the first Sundance credit for New Black Films’ Brayshaw.

Executive Producer:

  • James Erskine

    New Black Films’ Erskine is an Emmy-nominated writer/director/producer with a background in both fiction and nonfiction films and episodic series. He recently directed the feature documentary THE ICE KING.

Co-Executive Producers:

  • Oli Harbottle

    Harbottle also executive produced fellow 2019 Sundance title HALSTON, in Documentary Premieres. He is the head of distribution and acquisitions at London-based sales company and distributor Dogwoof.

  • Anna Godas
    Past Sundance docs:

    KUSAMA – INFINITY (2018)

    Godas also executive produced HALSTON. She is the founder and CEO of Dogwoof.


  • Katie Bryer

    This is Bryer’s first Sundance credit. Among her past projects is the Oscar-nominated VIRUNGA.

Why You Should Watch:
Through exceptional archival footage, and the reflections of the compelling Edwards, Holmes plunges viewers right in the middle of the Whitbread to experience the excitement of the race – as well as the sexism that the crew of the Maiden faced as a matter of course. Audiences outside of the festival will have a chance to watch the film in theatres via Sony Pictures Classics later this year.

More Info:

For Sundance screening dates and times, click the film title in the first paragraph.

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Filed under Documentary, Film, Film Festivals, Recommendations, Sundance

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