Pioneers in Skirts is an Emmy-nominated 60-min documentary about the obstacles that get in the way of pioneering ambition. The film addresses perceptions and behaviors that can chip away at a girl or woman and make her feel like she must re-think her dreams.


Pioneers in Skirts Movie Poster with Credits

Pioneers in Skirts is a socially conscious film about how women & girls identify and address the obstacles their ambition encounters, and what we ALL can do about it.

Real-life stories and frank commentary leave viewers seeing their role in the solution, feeling hopeful, and motivated to act.


Frustrated with her own challenges in the film industry, filmmaker Ashley Maria takes us with her in the feature documentary Pioneers in Skirts as she looks for advice for overcoming the ambition-limiting obstacles in her career. 

Not finding many answers within her profession, she decides to expand her search to include other industries and society in general.

In an inspiring portrait of perseverance and determination, Ashley shares her own story as she follows the journey of 3 ambitious teen girls on a robotics team, their fathers, as well as a young mother who is up for a promotion – all while traveling the U.S., speaking to fellow pioneering women and topic experts who have solutions to share.

In the film, Ashley learns about day-to-day experiences full of slights and insults — usually from people who are often unaware they have acted in an offensive or demeaning way.

She finds out how we ALL can address these behaviors and unfair perceptions that can chip away at ambition and make her feel like she must re-think her dreams.

Directed by DGA award-winning and Emmy-nominated director Ashley Maria.

Release Dates

Official Global Release at SXSW EDU: March 2023

  • Official Theatrical Release: October 2022
  • Official Release Date: August 2020 (soft release during global pandemic)
  • Official Film Festival Release: October 2019


Specs: Secure high resolution online streaming link, Blu-ray disc, DCP (digital cinema package)
Language: English | 60-min runtime
Closed captioning: English
Subtitles: Spanish, Portuguese, Simplified Chinese, French, German, Russian, Arabic

Movie Poster


The design goal for our movie poster was to express a feeling of optimism. Color elements, diverse faces — all strategically placed to help the viewer feel the hope this film brings. – read more

Press/Media Kit

More information about the film and access to photos & promotional materials can be found here:

What’s A Pioneer?

A Pioneer — at its core, is a woman or girl who paves her own way and leads the way for the next generation.

read more about a Pioneer and the naming of this film

Movie Trailers with closed captions

3-min Watch/Embed/Download links: 

Public Television 30-sec Watch/Embed link: 


IT’S NOT YOU, YOU DON’T NEED TO FIX YOURSELF: Empowering the many women & girls who often face unfair career-limiting obstacles and setbacks to know that they aren’t alone.

CULTURAL PREJUDICES CAN CHIP AWAY AT YOU: Raising awareness about prejudgment and stereotyping in the culture we live, work, and learn in.

IT GETS BETTER, YOU HAVE ALLIES & THERE ARE SOLUTIONS: To help them get past unfair obstacles, everyone…co-workers and classmates need to stand with the women and girls in their lives.


Directed by Ashley Maria

Produced by Lea-Ann W. Berst, Ashley Maria

Sound Edit by Amy Reynolds Reed

Composed by Alana Balagot

Sound Editing & Design by Devon Kelley at Skywalker Sound

Sound Mix by Vicki Lemar at Technicolor Post-Production Sound

Edited by Tiffany Hope, Ashley Maria, Crystal Lentz

Production Sound by Rebecca Chan

Cinematography by Elizabeth Yarwood

Written by Lea-Ann W. Berst, Ashley Maria

Graphic Design by Tom Bloczynski

Legal by Brooke Butner, Esq., USC Gould School of Law

Movie Theme Song “Freeway” by Mia Yara
(Listen to it on our Spotify playlist!)