INDEPENDENT LENS: Wrestle
Airs Monday, May 20, 2019 at 11 p.m. on KPBS TV + Thursday, May 23 at 11 a.m. on KPBS 2
Thursday, May 16, 2019
Credit: Courtesy of Sinisa Kukic
—An Intimate and Inspiring Portrait of an Alabama High School Wrestling Team as They Face Challenges On and Off the Mat—
“Profiling four members of an underdog high-school wrestling team in Huntsville, Alabama, ‘Wrestle’ constructs an empathetic portrait of a mat that’s anything but level.”– The New York Times
Go inside the lives of four members of the high school wrestling team at Huntsville’s J.O. Johnson High School, a longstanding entry on Alabama’s list of failing schools.
Teammates Jailen, Jamario, Teague, and Jaquan face challenges far beyond a shot at the state championship: splintered families, drug use, teenage pregnancy, mental health struggles, and run-ins with the law threaten to derail their athletic success and lock doors that might open their future.
Their tough-love coach Chris Scribner isn’t off the hook, either; he must come to terms with his own past while unwittingly wading into the complexities of race, class and privilege.
Director Suzannah Herbert and co-director Lauren Belfer captured over 650 hours of footage during the team’s final season to create this closely observed, deeply affecting depiction of growing up disadvantaged in America.
“Wrestle” premieres on INDEPENDENT LENS Monday, May 20, 2019.
“It takes grit, real strength of character, and fortitude to overcome growing up disadvantaged in America — especially when the environment you live in seems to be betting on your failure,” said Lois Vossen, INDEPENDENT LENS executive producer. “Filmmakers Suzannah Herbert and Lauren Belfer shine an unsentimental light on the story of young men and their ardent coach who turn to wrestling as one way to deal with the complexities of class and race in Alabama.”
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Director/Writer/Producer: Suzannah Herbert. Co-Director/Writer/Lead Producer: Lauren Belfer. Writer: Pablo Proenza. Producers: Steven Klein, Seth Gordon and Mary Rohlich. Executive Producers: Micheline Levine, Steven Streit, Walker Deibel and Chad Troutwine. Consulting Producer: Sam Pollard. Director of Photography: Sinisa Kukic. Editor: Pablo Proenza. Associate Editor: Blair McClendon. Music by David Wingo and Graham Lebron. Executive Producer for INDEPENDENT LENS: Lois Vossen.
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