October 21-30, 2019


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Hoop Dreams goes to the mat in this intimate, coming-of-age documentary about four members of a high-school wrestling team at Huntsville’s J.O. Johnson High School, a longstanding entry on Alabama’s list of failing schools. Coached by teacher Chris Scribner, teammates Jailen, Jamario, Teague, and Jaquan each face challenges far beyond a shot at the State Championship: splintered family lives, drug use, teenage pregnancy, mental health struggles, and run-ins with the law threaten to derail their success on the mat and lock any doors that could otherwise open. Tough-love coach Scribner isn’t off the hook, either; he must come to terms with his own past conflicts while unwittingly wading into the complexities of race, class and privilege in the South. Director Suzannah Herbert and Co-Director Lauren Belfer captured over 650 hours of footage during the course of the team’s final season to create this closely observed, deeply affecting depiction of growing up disadvantaged in America today.

Filmmaker Biography

Originally, from Memphis, Tennessee, Suzannah Herbert is a documentary filmmaker. Her NYU Tisch thesis, Home Game, premiered at DOC NYC. Herbert was the Associate Producer on Shola Lynch’s Free Angela & All Political Prisoners, and has since worked as an Assistant Editor on Michael Moore’s Oscar-shortlisted Where to Invade Next and Fahrenheit 11/9, and Martin Scorsese’s film, Rolling Thunder Revue: A Bob Dylan Story (Netflix 2019). Herbert made her feature directorial debut with Wrestle, which won 11 awards on the festival circuit.

Lauren Belfer is a filmmaker based in Brooklyn. Most recently, she field produced Martin Scorsese’s Rolling Thunder Revue: A Bob Dylan Story (Netflix 2019); she has also frequently collaborated with Michael Moore, having worked on Fahrenheit 11/9Trumpland and the Oscar-shortlisted Where to Invade Next. Belfer produced the narrative feature After Louie (BFI 2017), starring Alan Cumming, and the documentary Hotline (Hot Docs 2014). Belfer’s directorial debut, Wrestle, garnered 11 awards on the festival circuit.


  • East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, TN. Monday 10/21/2019
  • Presbyterian College, Clinton, SC. Wednesday 10/23/2019
  • Oxford College of Emory University, Oxford, GA. Thursday 10/24/2019
  • Global Education Center, Nashville, TN. Saturday 10/26/2019
  • Georgia Southern University, Statesboro, GA. Monday 10/28/2019
  • Clayton Center for the Arts, Maryville, TN. Wednesday 10/30/2019