row2k Features
Documentary feature film A Most Beautiful Thing to be released March 27
January 15, 2020

Manley Team on location in Oakland. © 2019 Richard Schultz. Courtesy 50 Eggs Films

The documentary feature, A Most Beautiful Thing, narrated and executive produced by Common, a Grammy, Oscar and Emmy award-winning artist, executive produced by NBA Stars Grant Hill and Dwyane Wade along with Grammy-winning producer 9th Wonder and directed by award-winning filmmaker Mary Mazzio, chronicles the first African American high school rowing team in America. The story begins in the most surprising of places, the West Side of Chicago, where a group of young men (many from rival gangs) came together in the same boat, rocking the affluent world of crew.

The water, as the team's captain, Arshay Cooper, recounts, became a sanctuary, "We were in a place where we couldn't hear the sound of the sirens... of bullets. There's something spiritual about it, something beautiful."

In the wake of the death of one of their coaches, these young men decided to come back together after 20 years out of the boat, to race once again. They raced, not only to celebrate the team's founding, but also to commemorate the fact that they survived the West Side. Their reunion is highlighted by an extraordinary gesture: Arshay reaches out to Chicago Police Department officers to join their team. And what then transpires is unexpected for all involved.

Manley Team on location in Chicago. ©2019 Clayton Hauck. Courtesy 50 Eggs Films
Manley Team on location in Chicago. ©2019 Clayton Hauck. Courtesy 50 Eggs Films

The film also dives into the trauma of violence, examining how these young men were able to support each other in re-imagining a different future for themselves, profoundly altering their lives and trajectories in the process. Seeking to share his experience with a new generation of young people, Arshay now travels the country putting at-risk students in boats on any puddle of water he can find. His teammates have become entrepreneurs and small business owners.

See the website for the film here:

In all of her films, Mary Mazzio (an Olympic rower herself), explores the concept of overcoming obstacles, whether it is a fight for social change or issues of poverty and lack of access. Her mission of shedding light on compelling narratives of social significance has made her one of the country's prominent filmmakers, promoting stories of those who are so often not provided a platform to be heard. Her last film, I Am Jane Doe, elevated the voices of young sex trafficking survivors and catalyzed bi-partisan legislation, and, with the White House, her film Underwater Dreams raised more than $100 million for underserved students.

A Most Beautiful Thing will be released theatrically on March 27, 2020 at AMC Theatres in Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Boston, Oakland, Philadelphia, Miami and Washington DC. 9th Wonder is producing the soundtrack which will feature original tracks by femdot., Reuben Vincent, King Draft and Swank, Ian Kelly, and GQ. The film is based on A Most Beautiful Thing: A Memoir by Arshay Cooper which will be reissued in July of 2020.

Manley Team on location in Oakland. © 2019 Richard Schultz. Courtesy 50 Eggs Films
Manley Team on location in Oakland. © 2019 Richard Schultz. Courtesy 50 Eggs Films

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01/16/2020  10:35:34 AM
I greatly look forward to seeing this film. From what I have seen It will be outstanding. I am so glad for these young men who were exposed to rowing at a youthful age, and the bonds of togetherness and friendship that emerged from this experience. I hope other young people are blessed to have such experiences that transfix their lives and provide them a common purpose from which the lessons they learn can and will be applied to their lives. I hope that young people from urban communities particularly have an opportunity such as this. Thank you again to all involved in the production of this film... of this story.

01/15/2020  4:09:53 PM
How can we see this film if we don’t live near the listed cities?

01/16/2020  12:56:54 AM
It might eventually turn up on Netflix (which happened to one of Mary Mazzio other films, but then again it might not). A friend of mine has been promoting an independent film for a couple of years and she takes her film to film festivals. This film might also do the film festival circuit. Lastly, after it has been out on the market for awhile, you might be able to stream it and if not, you will probably be able to buy it from 50 Eggs Films for about $25. See: . Of Note, the director Mary Mazzio also directed "A hero for Daisy" a powerful film about rowing and woman's sports.

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