The Tigers are all-smiles until they begin their journey to the national cheerleading championships and the young girls realize that more is at stake than their spankies.

CHEERLEADER is a 24-minute documentary that explores the quest to be a champion, the experience of being female, and the ins and outs of an All-American pastime.

The film also traces the history of the sport, with viewpoints ranging from former cheerleaders and disgruntled parents to a sociologist and a little boy who thinks cheerleaders are “hot.”

Brace yourself for a world of curly ponytails, cartwheels and cutthroat competition . . . this is cheerleading in the 21st century!

Click for information on sales, awards,
screenings and credits.

Awards won:

WINNER – Student Academy Award
Documentary – Gold Medal
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, 2004

WINNER – CINE Golden Eagle
CINE, 2003


University of Hawai‘i Outreach College, 2006
Fresh Film Festival, Limerick, IRELAND, 2006
DER 35th Anniversary Celebration, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Massachusetts, 2006
DocNZ International Documentary Film Festival, Auckland, Wellington and Dunedin, NEW ZEALAND, 2005
Future Femme – Visions for the New Millennium, San Francisco and San Diego, California, 2005
Girl Fest Hawai‘i, Honolulu, Hawai‘i, 2005
Dokufest, International Documentary and Short Film Festival, Prizren, KOSOVO, 2005
Woods Hole Film Festival, Woods Hole, Massachusetts, 2005
Reel Venus Film Festival, New York, New York, 2005
Pärnu International Documentary and Anthropology Film Festival, Pärnu, ESTONIA, 2005
Jacksonville Film Festival, Jacksonville, Florida, 2005
Kodak Emerging Filmmaker Showcase, Cannes Film Festival, Cannes, FRANCE, 2005
Absolute Time Film Festival, San Francisco, California, 2004
Academy Award Nominated Short Documentaries, Coolidge Corner Theatre, Brookline, Massachusetts, 2005
Calgary International Film Festival, Calgary, CANADA, 2004
First Take International Student Film Festival, Toronto, CANADA, 2004
31st Annual Student Academy Awards Ceremony, Beverly Hills, California, 2004
31st Annual Student Academy Awards Regional Finals, Portland, Oregon, 2004
Tambay Film and Video Festival, Tampa, Florida, 2004
Pacific Film Archive, Berkeley, California, 2004
Spindletop Film Festival, Beaumont, Texas, 2004
Santa Fe Film Festival, Santa Fe, New Mexico, 2003
University of California Berkeley Documentary Showcase, Oakland, California, 2003
Film Arts Festival of Independent Cinema, San Francisco, California, 2003
Northwest Asian American Film Festival, Seattle, Washington, 2003
Los Angeles International Short Film Festival, Los Angeles, California, 2003

Sales information:

The film had a week-long theatrical run at Laemmle Theatres in Los Angeles in 2004 and aired nationally on HBO Family in 2005.

DVDs of the film may be purchased for educational or consumer use directly through its distributor:

Documentary Educational Resources
101 Morse Street
Watertown, Massachusetts 02472
Phone: (800) 569-6621
Fax: (617) 926-9519


produced, directed, written & edited by
Kimberlee Bassford

Kimberlee Bassford
Kerry Eleveld
Shilpi Gupta
Kelli Nero

Turaya Bryant
Carlos Cruz
Kate Davidson
Kerry Eleveld

additional crew
Kimberlee Bassford
Carlos Cruz
Todd Dayton
Vanessa Kaneshiro
Hadas Ragolsky
Melis Senerdem
Annelise Wunderlich

music composed by
Justin Melland

narrated by
Cynthia Gorney

creative advisors
Jon Else
Deborah Hoffmann

Jon Else
Joan Bieder
Laura Grindstaff

technical advisor
Kean Sakata

online editor
Karen Everett

archival footage courtesy of
Anestis Diakopoulos
Robert Lerner
Library of Congress
National Archives
Phillips Academy, Andover, Massachusetts
Princeton University Archives
Punahou School Archives, Honolulu, Hawai’i
Universal Newsreel Collection
University of Minnesota Archives
University of Mississippi
Yale University Athletic Department Archives

your turn
lyrics, music & vocals by
Justin Melland

trumpet performed by
David Bithell

Tara Amodeo
Racquel Andrade and family
Joel Balthaser
Roy Baril
Michael Bassford
Diana Beck and family
Pamela Bettis
Celia Bortfeld
Joey Bortfeld
Alexis Campos and family
Shelby French and family
Mary Ellen Hanson
Bill Hofheimer
Kim Irwin
Raylene Kahn
Bonnie Kranz
Kylee Kurita
Michael LaBouff
Jennifer Levonius
Lisa Moroski
Lysa Northup
Steve Ojeda
Kimberly Thompson
Allie Vent and family
Joann Wagner
Whitney Wagner
Milt Wallace
Candace Won
Irma and Bill Zelina

special thanks
Los Gatos Tigers cheerleaders and their families
Pop Warner Little Scholars, Inc.
Walt Disney World Company

This film was made possible by a grant from Gina Despres

Produced at the
Graduate School of Journalism,
University of California Berkeley