Dare to Be: A Documentary on Women’s Rowing
When film director Adam Reist stood on a riverbank cheering his daughter Jordan in a youth rowing competition, he was struck by her newfound mental and physical strength. She had also developed a passion and leadership skills.
“While I began videotaping as a proud father, I soon realized that I had a much larger story that needed to be shared,” he said. He put three years into filming “Dare To Be,” a documentary about women’s rowing. It doesn’t just celebrate the sport. It also celebrates the human spirit. “My daughter and others were really able to find the athlete in them through this sport,” he said.
Female athletes are drawn to the sport but as it grows it also attracts those who are not traditionally good at hand-eye-coordination sports. “It’s a sport of determination and work ethic. The sport really attracts a certain individual. I love how it gives that opportunity to people who might not think they would be good at it,” Reist said.
He said he gained a new respect for women while watching them participate in rowing. “They are working hard, every day, no matter conditions. It’s all about consistency. Showing up every day,” he said. “You don’t really cut corners in the sport. You put in the work and reap the reward.”
That work is not limited to being on the water. Rowers also perform weight and endurance training.
Reist said he wanted to achieve two things with the film. First, educate people on rowing, specifically women’s rowing. “Women’s rowing didn’t really take flight until Title IX was passed in the 1970s. That push is what made the sport grow,” he said.
Second, convey that athletes participate simply for the love of rowing.
“It’s one of the few sports left where there’s not a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow,” he said. “You can be the best in the world – a gold medalist – and you’re not going to end up on a Wheaties box.”
Because of that, goals set by rowers are not external goals, they are internal. “Rowing goes back to the pure nature of sport. You’re achieving it, not for other people but for yourself,”
Reist said. “Those are the types of goals that are the sweetness. You know if you cut corners or not. You know if you worked hard at it.”
“Rowing goes back to life lessons we learn and apply. It examines the definition of success,” he said. “If you learn things and you are trying to better yourself along the way, that’s successful.”
“Dare to Be” is showing at film festivals and special screenings across the country. “It’s been an absolutely phenomenal ride so far,” Reist said. “I love the idea of festivals so people can watch it in group settings.”
The rowing community has been extremely supportive. Rowing magazine was an early sponsor, which opened a lot of doors. The USRowing organization “has been fantastic,” he said. “Having that support has been great. Everyone is just loving the film, and loving the message in the film.”
Visit www.daretobethemovie.com/host-a-screening.html to learn how your organization can host a screening.