• BY Suzannah Herbert & Lauren Belfer | IN Sports
    Premiered May 20, 2019

About the Film

Wrestle goes inside the lives of four members of the high school wrestling team at Huntsville’s J.O. Johnson High School--a longstanding entry on Alabama’s list of failing schools. Teammates Jailen, Jamario, Teague, and Jaquan show that needing a win can be about much more than just beating your opponent on the mat, as they face challenges that go far beyond a shot at the state championship. As their tough love coach Chris Scribner comes to terms with his own past while wading into the complexities of race, class and privilege, these determined kids push each other to be accountable not just to their coach but to themselves.

Wrestle is a closely observed, deeply affecting depiction of growing up disadvantaged in America.   MORE

The Filmmakers

Suzannah Herbert, is originally from Memphis, Tennessee. Her NYU Tisch senior thesis, Home Game, premiered at DOC NYC. Herbert was the associate producer on Free Angela & All Political Prisoners, directed by Shola Lynch, and has since worked as an assistant editor on Michael Moore's Where to Invade Next and Fahrenheit 11/9, and Martin Scorsese's upcoming documentary, Rolling Thunder Revue, about Bob Dylan’s pivotal 1975 tour. Herbert made her feature directorial debut with Wrestle, which won 11 awards on the 2018 festival circuit, and was distributed theatrically by Oscilloscope in 2019.

Lauren Belfer is a producer and filmmaker based in Brooklyn. Most recently she was the line and field producer on Martin Scorsese’s Rolling Thunder Revue: A Bob Dylan Story (Netflix 2019), and she has frequently collaborated with Michael Moore, having worked on Fahrenheit 11/9, Trumpland, 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, including two audience awards and the Maysles Brothers Award for Best Documentary Film. LESS

Film Credits

Directed by
Suzannah Herbert

Co-Directed by
Lauren Belfer

Written by
Lauren Belfer
Suzannah Herbert
Pablo Proenza

Produced by
Lauren Belfer, p.g.a.
Steven Klein, p.g.a.
Seth Gordon
Mary Rohlich
Suzannah Herbert

Executive Producer
Micheline Levine

Executive Producers
Steven Streit
Walker Deibel
Chad Troutwine

Consulting Producer
Sam Pollard

Director of Photography
Sinisa Kukic

Edited by
Pablo Proenza

Music by
David Wingo
Graham LeBron

Sound Design & Re-Recording Engineer
Arjun G. Sheth

Featuring the J.O. Johnson Wrestling Team 2015-2016

Sincere Anderson
Sebastian Berres
Teague Barres
Tyrik Britman
Reuben Collick
Diaris Donaldson
Michael Flynn
Isiah Franklin
Amir Ghaffari
Dontez Morris
Jakobe Payne
Jaquan Rhodes
Jamario Rowe
Shon’derius Spralling
Lazavion Wesley
Jailen Young
Coach Chris Scribner
Assistant Head Coach James Dowd

Also Featuring
Samara Heard
Cody Majors
Heather Messer
Lolitia Reed
Sheba Rhodes
"Fat Cat" Rowe
Sheila & Cleven Young

Associate Editor
Blair McClendon

Additional Editors
Emily Clifton
Damian Rodriguez

Story Consultant
Steven Klein

Music Supervisor
Sean Fernald

Post Production Services Provided By

Jacob Jackson
Anthony Rhoads

Title Design
Susan Widdicombe

Sales Agents
Kevin Iwashina
Liesl Copland

Production Legal Counsel
Micheline Levine, Esq.

Copyright Consultant
Peter Jaszi

Archival Footage Provided by
Egoulet / Pond5
Suzannah Herbert

Additional Materials Provided by
Huntsville Police Department
WHNT Huntsville News 19
WZDX Huntsville Fox 54

"Goin' Down South"
Written and performed by R.L. Burnside
Published by Mockingbird Blues Publishing, Ltd. (BMI)
Administered worldwide by Wixen Music Publishing, Inc.
Courtesy of Fat Possum Records
By arrangement with Wixen Music Publishing, Inc.

"No Flockin"
Written by Dieuson Octave and Rui Wen Pan
Published by Warner-Tamerlane Publishing Corp. (BMI) Last Gang Publishing Inc. dba Connect eOne Publishing (SOCAN/BMI)
Administered by Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.
Performed by Kodak Black
Courtesy of Atlantic Recording Corp.
By arrangement with Rhino Entertainment Company, A Warner Music

"This Train"
Written by Rosetta Tharpe
Published by EMI Mills Music Inc. (ASCAP)
Administered by Sony/ATV Music Publishing
Performed by The Staple Singers
Courtesy of Epic Records
By Arrangement with Sony Music Entertainment

Special Thanks
Khadijah Abdullah
Alabama High School Athletic Association
The Alabama Wrestling Club
Louis Alvarez
Margaret Bodde
Susi & Shane Bowermaster
Ellen Bransford
Taylor Brooks
Toni Cruthirds
Janis Donnaud & Peter Gethers
Peter Golden
Harrison Hill
Huntsville City Schools & the Huntsville Board of Education
J.O. Johnson High School
Council Member Devyn Keith
Yelizavetta & Erik Kofman-Burns
Tia Lessin & Carl Deal
Abby Levine
Gregory Louis
Greg Lux
Kendra MacLeod
Doug Martinson
Michael McClintock
Ryan McPartland
Ashley & Marshall Meggers
Michael Moore
Benjamin Murray
Rachel & Chris Nager
Lisa & Wayne Parker
Kristine Penner Klein
Erin Ploss-Campoamor
Thom Powers
Bryce Renninger
T. Woody Richman
Jeff Rosen
Ira Sachs
Annette Sahakian Davis
Sheila Shirazi
Charles Scribner III
Clay Tweel
DeVoe Yates

Funding Provided by
Jill Richter & Robert Kazer
The Riggio Foundation
Sun Valley Film Festival
Alisa Doctoroff
And others. A complete list available from PBS.

Production Support by
Waverly Herbert
Elizabeth Hessler
Janice & Pinkney Herbert
Bernard Levine
Laure Goor
Michele & Brian Meggers
Pam & Steve Meggers

Original Series Funding Provided by
The Corporation for Public Broadcasting
John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation
Wyncote Foundation
The National Endowment for the Arts

WRESTLE is a production of Jaguar Wrestling, LLC.

WRESTLE was produced by Jaguar Wrestling, LLC who is solely responsible for its content.

© 2019 Jaguar Wrestling

Did you ever play for or coach sports at an underfunded or struggling high school? How did you overcome budget shortages and compete? What was the most surprising revelation to you when watching Wrestle?


  • Denver Film Festival
    Maysles Brothers Documentary Award
  • Hot Springs Film Festival
    Best Sports Documentary + Hot Springs Audience Award
  • Sidewalk Film Festival
    Best Alabama Film + the Spirit of Sidewalk Award
  • Indie Memphis Film Festival
    Ron Tibbett Excellence in Filmmaking Award + Audience Award for Doc. Feature
  • Oxford Film Festival
    Best Documentary Feature + The Alice Guy-Blaché Award for Emerging Female Filmmaker
  • News & Documentary Emmy Award
    Outstanding Social Issue Documentary & Outstanding Editing: Documentary (Nominee)
Please review our comment guidelines.
Did you ever play for or coach sports at an underfunded or struggling high school? How did you overcome budget shortages and compete? What was the most surprising revelation to you when watching Wrestle?