'Undefeated,' film about Manassas High football team in Memphis, screens in Toronto

The feature documentary film "Undefeated," about the football team at Manassas High in North Memphis, is being screened at the Toronto International Film Festival, which runs this week and next. After its premiere in spring at the South by Southwest Film Festival, the film was picked up for distribution by the Weinstein Co. The Hollywood Reporter has a positive review of the film:

In the 110-year history of Manassas High School in North Memphis, the school's football team, the Tigers, has never won a playoff game. But the 2009 season provided their strongest shot ever, thanks to a star left tackle, O.C. Brown, attracting attention from college scouts for his size and speed, though struggling academically to achieve qualifying grades. Even more crucial, however, is the dedication of volunteer coach Bill Courtney

... While some audiences might chafe at seeing another story in which disenfranchised African-American lives are elevated by white benevolence, there's no questioning the conviction of the story as presented here, or the unstinting commitment of Courtney, a white businessman, and his fellow coaches.

From the archives, here's the story The Commercial Appeal published two years ago about Brown and the families who worked to keep him on the right path to college and beyond.


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