The Realscreen Summit picks Lani Hay’s “Frogwomen” winner of the “So You Think You Can Pitch?” pitch session.
By Jill A. Norris
The fight for women’s rights has been an ongoing battle and despite huge progress, has yet to end. “Frogwomen” is a documentary that asks if women will ever have the equal opportunity to serve their country alongside men in combat and if women are physically, mentally and emotionally capable of serving in the military’s Special Forces unit. The film was recently announced as the winner of the Realscreen Summit “So You Think You Can Pitch” competition, which is a nonfiction entertainment conference that has been held in Washington for 14 years. This year the event was hosted by TV personality Howie Mandel.
The inspiration for the documentary came from Lani Hay’s, president and CEO of Lanmark Technology Inc. (LMT) personal experience and aspirations. “My dream was to be a fighter pilot flying for the Navy’s premiere aerial flight team, the Blue Angels. I received an appointment to attend the United States Naval Academy and when I arrived, I was told that I couldn’t fulfill my dream simply because I was a woman,” she explained. Hay then discovered the “Combat Exclusion Policy” based on a 1988 Department of Defense restriction that excludes women from participating in “combat units.” In 1944, however, the US government partially lifted the policy, but it still refrains women from serving in “direct ground combat units.” Because of this, there are no women currently in the US military’s Special Forces and Hay felt it was time to expose this discriminatory truth.
The name of the documentary comes from the Navy SEAL insider moniker “Frogmen.” The feature follows 24 American women who are given the opportunity to test their physical, mental and emotional strength through a training program similar to the one used to test US Navy SEALs. While the women in the narrative come from different backgrounds and ethnicities, they share the common dream of fighting for their country as an elite.
“This training is known to be the hardest military training program in the world and has never previously been tested on women. The attrition rate to becoming a US Navy SEAL is 78%. Very simply, this means that if a 100 people try out on Day 1, only 22 will get a US Navy SEAL trident on their chest a year later,” said Brian Krow, Creative Director of Lanmark Technology in his pitch to the panel of judges.