Roll Red Roll


Before the #MeToo movement, the rust belt town of Steubenville, Ohio, sat in the center of a firestorm in 2012, when the sexual assault of a young girl was showcased on social media, inciting a fearless blogger’s rebellion, a town’s scorn and even intervention from the hacker group Anonymous. But what became one of the biggest international stories of its time started as a small story, an all-too-common story. Members of the local high school football team, young men running amok with “boys will be boys” carte blanche often afforded local heroes, raped and humiliated an unconscious girl.

While police pursued leads, local crime blogger Alexandria Goddard scoured the social media of team members, and suddenly much of the beloved Steubenville Big Red was culpable, whether as perpetrators or bystanders. Football-loving adults began victim blaming online, on talk radio and around town—rallying to protect their boys with bright futures while failing to notice that they had abandoned the girls. A bold multifaceted documentary by first-time director Nancy Schwartzman, Roll Red Roll delves into detailed social media play by play, police interviews and the ensuing court case, all the while keeping the lens squarely on the rape culture that contributed to the incident and the aftermath. —Alexis Whitman

Director Nancy Schwartzman in person

Nancy Schwartzman Nancy Schwartzman is a documentary film director, producer, and media strategist who uses storytelling and technology to create safer communities for women and girls. Roll Red Roll is her feature film debut that premiered to sold-out houses at the Tribeca Film Festival and Hot Docs. She directed The Line, a featurette documentary examining consent that was used by the White House for an impact campaign around sexuality, and PBS/POV and BBC featured xoxosms - a love story exploring teenagers and technology. A globally recognized human rights activist, her work focuses on creating impact around the prevention and transformation of gender-based violence. She serves on the Biden Foundation's Advisory Council for Violence Against Women. Nancy is a tech founder, and created the White House award-winning mobile app "Circle of 6," designed to reduce sexual violence. Circle of 6 is used by over 350,000 people in 36 countries. Circle of 6 in partnership with the Guardian Project is now Open Source. Her company Tech 4 Good, in partnership with the freedom of expression organization, Article 19, is bringing encrypted safety tools with the Circle of 6 code-base and ethos, for female journalists working in Mexico, Brazil, Uganda and Kenya. She has shared her work at the White House, the United Nations, TEDxSheffield, AIDC and more.

Release Year
Festival Year(s)
Running Time
Print Source
Caitlin Mae Burke: