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Row Ontario is proud to be partnering with the Canadian Sport Film Festival to present the Canadian premiere of the rowing film A Most Beautiful Thing on May 14-16.

The film, which is based on the memoir by Arshay Cooper, is an inspiring and uplifting documentary about Cooper and his teammates from Manley Career Academy High School on Chicago’s West Side, who formed the first black high school rowing team in the United States. This powerful story chronicles the barriers team members broke to be able to participate in rowing and the resulting impact on their lives and legacies. Tickets to view the film virtually are now on sale and available to anyone across the country.

“We first saw the trailer for A Most Beautiful Thing last year and knew we had to find a way to bring it to the rowing community and the greater sports community in Canada as a whole,” said Andrew Backer, Chief Executive Officer with Row Ontario. “Partnering with the Canadian Sport Film Festival for the premiere of the film is a great opportunity to share the powerful messages in the film with a wide audience in the rowing community and beyond, and it will also allow us to help raise funding for future inclusion, diversity, equity and accessibility projects at rowing clubs throughout Ontario. We couldn’t be happier to be working with the CSFF on this important project and are ecstatic the film will be premiered to Canadian audiences in May.”

Proceeds from ticket sales as well as sponsorships and donations will be put towards the Row Ontario IDEA (Inclusion Diversity Equity Accessibility) Fund. Grants from the IDEA Fund will allow Row Ontario member clubs to fund programs to create a more diverse, inclusive, and accessible rowing community in Ontario. The premiere of the film is the first large project from Row Ontario Diversity & Inclusion Committee, which was formed in November 2020.

Two ticketing options will be available for purchase in order to view the film. In addition to viewing the film, a general ticket will include a pre-recorded Q&A with Arshay Cooper, while a VIP ticket will include catered food from CURED, Row Ontario branded merchandise, the A Most Beautiful Thing book, and participation in a live Q&A with Cooper following the premiere of the film. The event is being offered through the Digital TIFF Bell Lightbox, which allows for streamlined ticket purchases and a professional digital platform. The deadline for VIP ticket sales is Saturday, May 1, while general tickets will be available until May 14.

Since 2008, the Canadian Sport Film Festival has been highlighting the ways in which film is a powerful medium to explore social justice issues through sport.

“We are incredibly excited to be able to share A Most Beautiful Thing with Canadian audiences,” notes CSFF Executive Director Russell Field. “Arshay Cooper’s story captures the power of sport to reveal inequity, empower people to overcome barriers, and effect positive change in the community.”

HUDSON, a rowing industry world leader and Row Ontario’s official boat supplier, is sponsoring Arshay Cooper’s involvement with the Canadian Sport Film Festival and the premiere of the film. In September of last year HUDSON partnered with the George Pocock Rowing Foundation’s A Most Beautiful Thing Fund, which aims to promote accessibility and inclusion at rowing programs across the United States.

“HUDSON is proud to partner with Row Ontario and support the CSFF premiere screening of A Most Beautiful Thing in Canada with the goal to enable and amplify Arshay’s vision and the mission to support the issues of accessibility for under resourced families and gaining access for as many youths as possible to positively benefit from the sport of rowing,” said Craig McAllister, Commercial Manager at HUDSON. “As a global leader in the rowing equipment industry, we want to help level the playing field for these young, up and coming athletes and programs. HUDSON is a proud Canadian company leading with values and putting action to words to create meaningful and lasting change in our sport.”

Tickets can be purchased through the TIFF Bell Lightbox website at A Most Beautiful Thing.

Donations to the Row Ontario IDEA Fund can be made at Support the Row Ontario IDEA Fund.

For more information on the premiere of A Most Beautiful Thing at the Canadian Sport Film Festival, visit A Most Beautiful Thing on our website.