For 15 weeks, from the start of their season through the 2016 Alabama state tournament, the wrestlers at Huntsville’s J.O. Johnson High School endured both the demands of their sport and the trials of life in a school and an area where the odds were stacked against them. For a fortunate few, a college scholarship could offer a way out.
Filmmakers Suzannah Herbert and Lauren Belfer offer an intimate, empathetic look into their experiences and challenges in the 2018 documentary Wrestle. It focuses on four wrestlers at J.O. Johnson—located in one of the city’s poorest areas and a fixture on the state’s list of failing schools—and their purposeful coach. The Library and KCPT-Kansas City PBS screen the 96-minute film as part of the Indie Lens Pop-Up community cinema initiative. A discussion follows.
Co-presented by KCPT-Kansas City PBS.