On the heels of garnering a nomination for Best Sports Documentary at the 5th Annual Critics' Choice Documentary Awards, Mary Mazzio's acclaimed film "A Most Beautiful Thing" has now been honored with a limited-edition shoe from FILA. The signature FILA x "A Most Beautiful Thing" shoe was unveiled earlier this month on Instagram, with designs that honor the subjects of Mazzio's film, who are members of the first African American high school rowing team in the United States. 50% of the profits from the shoe will benefit the "A Most Beautiful Thing" Inclusion Fund, a new non-profit effort dedicated to increasing access to the sport of rowing. And that's only one of many exciting announcements regarding this important film.
From Thursday, December 3rd, through Sunday, December 6th, Pepsi and the Miami Dolphins will be hosting "'A Most Beautiful Thing' Weekend" in Miami. One of the most meaningful events of the weekend will be the handing out of meals to families in food insecure areas by Arshay Cooper, who was only a junior in high school when he first signed up for the rowing team at Manley High School on the Westside of Chicago. As is so memorably illustrated in the documentary, Arshay and others have seen their lives take a dramatic turn, and they in turn have reached out to young men and women in the inner cities to provide assistance. And now Arshay lectures all over the United States raising money for the "A Most Beautiful Thing" Inclusion Fund. This is a calling for him, a mission.
The weekend in Miami will kick off with a socially distant screening of "A Most Beautiful Thing" at the Stadium for young people and their families. The evening will start with a panel conversation featuring Dolphins Coach Brian Flores, Grant Hill, Arshay Cooper and director Mary Mazzio along with Dolphins CEO Tom Garfinkle, followed by a performance by Reuben Vincent, one of the young hip-hop artists from the film’s soundtrack. The trailer to the film as well as one of the tracks from Reuben Vincent will be featured at the game.
"The resonance of the film’s message against the events of the past several months has been extraordinary," said Mazzio. "We are just off an incredible special presentation at the 2020 NAACP Convention and Representative Danny Davis (D-IL) has been a champion of the film. He is working on an event with and for members of the Congressional Black Caucus, with the ultimate goal of legislative change in response to the issues in the film. In addition, the Obama Foundation is engaging around the project and the US Olympic Committee, and other professional sports teams and national governing bodies are also engaged, calling 'A Most Beautiful Thing' one of the most potent tools to discuss the importance of inclusion."
"In addition, as a former Olympic athlete myself," continues Mazzio, "I’m so proud that the British, New Zealand, Australian, German, Dutch, Italy, French, Egypt, Turkish, Canadian and other Olympic teams are supporting the film and activating in profound ways, including the creation of new charitable organizations (much like the 'A Most Beautiful Thing' Inclusion Fund), including initiatives with the Maori in New Zealand. Universities and athletic directors across the country (from Morehouse and other HBCU institutions to the University of Washington and University of Texas to Harvard, Yale, and Princeton) are all hosting events because the film resonates deeply with their students. And amazingly, corporate CEOs are now hosting conversations around the film, digging into access and opportunity as well as the role and obligation of privilege."
"A Most Beautiful Thing" is currently available to stream on Amazon Prime and NBC’s new platform, Peacock. Amazon Music will soon be releasing the film's soundtrack produced by the Grammy-winning 9th Wonder, featuring Anderson Paak, Rapsody (2020 BET Lyricist of the Year), and J-Roc. For more information on the film visit its official site.
Header image caption: Manley Team on the water in Oakland. © 2019 Richard Schultz. Courtesy 50 Eggs Films.