Toe to Toe tells the story of the friendship and rivalry between lacrosse teammates Tosha and Jesse, two senior girls at a competitive Washington, D.C. prep school. The two forge a close bond on the lacrosse field, but their friendship unravels as they navigate through gender, sexuality, race and class-related obstacles.

Toe to Toe’s observations about race, class and friendship are clear and accessible without being overly didactic.  Ms. Abt provides an unusually honest, compassionate and challenging view of contemporary youth, neither sugarcoated nor prurient.”

A.O. Scott, The New York Times
Synopsis: 

Toe to Toe tells the story of the friendship and rivalry between lacrosse mates Tosha and Jesse, two senior girls at a competitive Washington, D.C. prep school. Tosha (played by Sonequa Martin-Green of “Star Trek:Discovery" and "The Walking Dead") is a scholarship student from one of Washington's poorest neighborhoods. Jesse (played by Louisa Krause of "The Girlfriend Experience") is a rebellious, troubled girl from the ritzy suburbs of Maryland. The two forge a close and genuine bond on the lacrosse field but their friendship unravels as they navigate through gender, sexuality, race and class related obstacles. When Jesse and Tosha discover they've both been dating the same boy, their conflict becomes explosive. Toe to Toe is a powerful reminder that those who test us often make us better. Premiered in Dramatic Competition at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival, distributed by Strand Releasing. 

Reviews

Toe to Toe is essential viewing for all academics and students interested in looking at race relations and teenage sexuality with a critical eye.”

Professor Shamik Dasgupta, University of California, Berkeley

Toe to Toe springs out with an emotional verve and confidence.”

Duane Byrge, The Hollywood Reporter

Toe to Toe is unafraid to be challenging and deal with issues that most films skirt.”

Melissa Silverstein, Huffington Post

Toe to Toe features unforgettable, standout lead performances.”

Steve Ramos, Indiewire
Director's Commentary: 

Toe to Toe reflects my intense interest in race relations and was inspired by the disturbing fact that interracial friendships end at age 14 for 87% of Americans. This reality is in stark contrast to the way Hollywood usually portrays our society as a magical melting pot where people easily integrate and chuckle over race jokes without any fallout. What I love about Jesse and Tosha’s relationship is that it deals with the messy, subtle forms of racial tension that are usually overlooked by mainstream media. These girls don’t always say the polite thing and they don’t shy away from conflict with each other. There’s beauty in that authenticity and it leads these two girls to a place where they’re willing to sacrifice a great deal for each other.