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Premiere of "Trials" Documentary on Para-Rowing

by Sarah Marshall, smarshall@usrowing.org | Jun 08, 2016
Directed by Daniel Koenig of Power 10 Films and set to premiere this weekend in Phoenix, Ariz., “Trials: Finding the Medal” follows four elite para-rowers as they train and compete for a spot on the U.S. National Team within the para-rowing categories. Follow along as each rowers trains, overcomes obstacles and ultimately races for their spot on the roster.

TrialsDoc poster copy

Are you a lover of a great documentary and looking for one with some rowing flavor? This is just the thing!

Directed by Daniel Koenig of Power 10 Films, and set to premiere this weekend in Phoenix, Ariz., “Trials: Finding the Medal” follows four elite para-rowers as they train and compete for a spot on the U.S. National Team within the para-rowing categories. Follow along as each rowers trains, overcomes obstacles and ultimately races for a spot on the roster.

Filming at a variety of rowing locations across the country, the film showcases the beauty and power of rowing, while giving a behind-the-scenes look into the selection process for the national rowing team and para-rowing.

USRowing caught up with Koenig on the story behind the documentary and why he chose to highlight para-rowing.

USRowing: What is your background in rowing?

DK: I started rowing in Oklahoma City out of the Chesapeake Boathouse and then rowed for the University of Oklahoma. After I graduated, I moved to Phoenix, Arizona and now I row for Rio Salado Rowing Club.

USR: What about from a documentary standpoint?

DK: This documentary is the first of my own!

USR: What was your inspiration behind doing a documentary on adaptive rowing?

DK: Most of it came from my rowing background. I really didn't know about para-rowing before I moved to Phoenix. Rio Salado actually has a para-rowing group and that is how I found out about it. I thought covering a topic where people were training at the elite level and trying to be the best of their sport was an interesting topic. I went online and started researching who was involved in para-rowing and that is when I found Dan (Ahr), Margaret (Stran), Andrew (Johnson) and Josh (Langston-White). I contacted them all, they all said yes and then we got started! 

USR: Did anything surprise you while you were filming?

DK: I didn’t really have any experience with adaptive rowing before this. I knew that with my rowing background, we would have a lot in common, but I think one of the things I initially recognized was how similar the two types of rowing are. I think some people would think that they couldn’t coach adaptive rowing because they don’t know how, but I would argue that the two are almost exactly the same. The focuses are all the same - clean blade entry and creating a powerful stroke. I think that was one pretty important thing I took away.

USR: We heard that you were there for Dan Ahr’s first child being born! Did anything else interesting/exciting/surprising happen during filming?

DK: That did happen! That is actually how the whole documentary starts, spoiler alert. I thought I would have a little more time before she came. I was in Phoenix and I got a call while I was working on another movie at the time that the c-section was being scheduled. Basically, I was told that I had three days to get off the set I was on and get myself to D.C. and be prepared to stay another seven months for filming! I think it is a 36-hour drive and I think I made it in 42. I was able to check into my hotel just in time to pull a 15-hour shift at the hospital while the birth was taking place. To top it all off, it was the first time I had met Dan or Stephanie in person! It was a lot of fun, but I was definitely exhausted.

Want to watch the documentary for yourself, or even hold your own screening? Please contact info@power10films.com for more information. “Trials” will be available through Amazon and iTunes in August. You can also buy your own copy of the DVD on the trialsdoc.com website.

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