Local, USA

Girl Talk: A Local, USA Special

Season 07  Episode 1

The Newton South Debate Team is one of the largest in the country, with a diverse roster of debaters; nearly half are girls and many are first generation Americans. Unlike most of their elite competitors, they must only rely on one another to master the art of debate. Set in the cutthroat, male-dominated world of high school debate, GIRL TALK tells the compelling story of five girls on the top-ranked Massachusetts high school team as they strive to become the best in the U.S.

Shot over four years, the film offers a front row seat to leadership in the making, as varsity members step up to become captains and bear the responsibility of training and inspiring novices. The girls themselves have to find their own voices - perfecting speaking and research skills, while grappling with confidence issues, and weathering the realities of fierce competition. They must also learn to navigate the implicit and explicit gender biases rife in the world of debate. As the five debaters remain steadfast in their determination to overcome the odds, they remind us that equal rights and freedom of expression are worth fighting for, both within debate and beyond.



Five remarkable women – former Newton South High School debaters Gaby Lewis and Hannah Phan; current High School Quiz Show competitors Sophie Nerine and Dominique Dang; and host Raney Aronson-Rath, editor-in-chief and executive producer for FRONTLINE – discussed themes featured in Girl Talk, including confidence, gender biases, leadership and why freedom of expression is worth fighting for in debate, academic teams and beyond. Presented in partnership with GBH's High School Quiz Show. Watch the replay now!



Ahead of the premiere, former Newton South High School debater Gil joined us on Instagram Live with Ambika Grover of the National Speech and Debate Association's national debate team to talk about the film, their experiences with debate and how to promote young female empowerment. Watch the replay now!