New Film Chronicles the First African American High School Rowing Team in the US

Nov. 24, 2020
New Film Chronicles the First African American High School Rowing Team in the US
Manley Team on location in Oakland. © 2019 Richard Schultz. Courtesy 50 Eggs Films

“A Most Beautiful Thing” tells the true story of a group of young, African American men from the West Side of Chicago who came together to row in the same boat. Directed by 1987-88 Luce Scholar Mary Mazzio—an award-winning filmmaker as well as Olympic athlete and founder of 50 Eggs Inc., an independent film production company—the documentary is narrated by Common and has been widely acclaimed for its uplifting, inspirational tale of overcoming difference, disadvantage, and trauma.

Available to stream online on NBCUniversal’s PEACOCK platform and Amazon Prime.

Watch the trailer

Nominated for a Critics Choice Award and called one of the best documentaries to unveil at South by Southwest by Brian Tallerico of Roger Ebert, an “absolute must watch” by Deadspin, and “a movie for we could really use right now” by the Hollywood Reporter, A MOST BEAUTIFUL THING is narrated by the Academy-Award/Grammy-winning artist, Common; executive-produced by NBA Stars Grant Hill and Dwyane Wade along with Grammy-award winning producer 9th Wonder; and directed by award-winning filmmaker (and Olympic rower) Mary Mazzio. The film chronicles the first African American high school rowing team in this country (made up of young men, many of whom were in rival gangs from the West Side of Chicago), all coming together to row in the same boat. An amazing story, based on the memoir of team captain, Arshay Cooper.

A MOST BEAUTIFUL THING explores not only the safety these young men found on the water (where, as the captain reflected, “we were in a place where we could not hear the sound of sirens”), but the trauma of violence and cyclical poverty, examining how these young men were able to support each other in reimagining a different future for themselves, and how rowing and the water provided the backdrop for that opportunity. These young men came together, after 20 years out of the boat, to race this past summer, not only to celebrate the team’s founding, but the fact that they are still alive. This is their story.

Visit the film website

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