A Most Beautiful Thing

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The Michelle Smith Arts & Culture Series

invites you to

A Most Beautiful Thing

A Conversation with Mary Mazzio and Arshay Cooper

A MOST BEAUTIFUL THING chronicles the true story of the country’s first African-American high school rowing team. Award-winning filmmaker Mary Mazzio (I am Jane Doe) and original crew captain and memoirist Arshay Cooper (Suga Water) join Aspen Institute Executive Vice President Elliot Gerson to discuss and preview clips of this highly anticipated new documentary Executive Produced by Grant Hill, Dwyane Wade, and Dion (No I.D.) Wilson.

Wednesday, December 4, 2019 | 12:00pm-1:30 p.m. | The Aspen Institute, 2300 N St. NW

“The water was the only place of safety. I felt no fear because there was only Alvin in front of me and Preston behind me. Pulling hard. I felt powerful…”

— Arshay Cooper

Mary Mazzio, an award-winning documentary film director, Olympic athlete, and former law firm partner, is Founder/CEO of 50 Eggs, Inc., an independent production company dedicated to making socially impactful films. Mary wrote, directed and produced the highly-acclaimed films: Underwater Dreams, TEN9EIGHT, The Apple Pushers, A Hero for Daisy, Contrarian, Apple Pie, and Lemonade Stories. Her newest film, I AM JANE DOE, narrated by Academy Award-nominee Jessica Chastain, opened in AMC Theatres and is now on Netflix. The film catalyzed bipartisan federal legislation signed by the President in 2018.

Arshay Cooper is an award-winning author, USRowing Golden Oars winner, motivational speaker, and partners with several community outreach organizations. Arshay has spent his life cultivating a unique set of experiences that make him a much sought after speaker to audiences ranging from professional athletes to High School students. He is highly regarded for his ability to inspire and motivate every audience he encounters. 

Elliot Gerson is the executive vice president at the Aspen Institute responsible for its Policy Programs, its Public Programs and its relations with its International Partners. The Institute’s more than 30 Policy Programs focus on both domestic and international issues. They foster candid dialogue among leaders and policy experts, advocate new policy, and have enormous impact on the ground. The Institute’s public programs – including the Aspen Ideas Festival, The Aspen Security Forum, CityLab, and many smaller programs across the country and world – open the Institute’s doors to a broader audience and further both its educational goals and its promotion of ideas to lead to action. The Institute has International Partners based in the Czech Republic, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Romania, Spain, and Ukraine. Gerson also administers the US Rhodes Scholarships. He was a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford, a US Supreme Court clerk, practiced law in government and privately, held executive positions in state and federal government and on a presidential campaign, and was president of start-ups in health care and education, and of two leading national insurance and health-care companies. He has served on many non-profit boards, especially in the arts. 

The Michelle Smith Arts & Culture Series is made possible with the generous support of Michelle Smith and the Robert H. Smith Family Foundation.