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Girlfight is a 2000 American sports drama film written and directed by Karyn Kusama and starring Michelle Rodriguez in both of their film debuts. It follows Diana Guzman, a troubled teenager from Brooklyn who decides to channel her aggression by training to become a boxer, despite the disapproval of both her father and her prospective trainers and competitors in the male-dominated sport. Kusama wrote the screenplay for Girlfight after learning to box, wanting to make a film about the sport with a female protagonist. Although she struggled to find financiers for the film's $1 million (U.S.) budget, the production was eventually funded by John Sayles, Maggie Renzi and the Independent Film Channel. Rodriguez was cast in the lead role, despite having never acted before, and trained for four months to prepare for the role before filming commenced in New York and New Jersey. Girlfight premiered on January 22, 2000 at the Sundance Film Festival, where it won the Grand Jury Prize. It was released theatrically on September 29, 2000 and grossed $1.7 million at the box office. The film was well received by critics, who offered particular praise to Rodriguez for her performance and Kusama for her direction. Both Kusama and Rodriguez received numerous accolades, including two National Board of Review Awards, two Independent Spirit Award nominations, and two Gotham Awards.
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