Arshay Cooper and “A Most Beautiful Thing” to Headline Wooden Boat Festival 2023!

In 2023 Highlights

Join us on Saturday night at Festival for a special cinematic experience as we present A Most Beautiful Thing with Arshay Cooper—the movie’s inspiring protagonist—on-site to hold a Q&A session after the screening.

Inspired by Cooper’s 2015 memoir, A Most Beautiful Thing is a 2020 documentary film chronicling the history of the first US African American public high school rowing team, composed of young men from the West Side of Chicago, many of whom were in rival gangs. The film takes a deep dive into the backstories of these young men, examining the issues of trauma and violence. As Cooper, the team’s captain, reflected, “When we were on the water, we were in a place where we could not hear the sound of sirens or bullets, and that allowed us to shape a different vision for ourselves, of who and what we could become. And that was a beautiful thing.”

The film is narrated by Common, directed by filmmaker and Olympic rower Mary Mazzio, and produced by NBA athletes Grant Hill and Dwyane Wade along with 9th Wonder who also did the hip-hop score for the film. The movie will be shown at 6:30 PM on Saturday, September 9, at Wooden Boat Festival with a Q&A session following! Don’t miss this incredible opportunity to watch the film and engage with Arshay Cooper firsthand!

Learn more about Arshay and the film at