New Rowing Documentary: ‘Making Waves’

Boathouse Row is the setting for an independent documentary which looks at diversity in the sport of rowing.

A new film documentary on rowing, Making Waves, will air on Wednesday, 12 October, 2011, on the Philadelphia PBS channel, WHYY, at 10 p.m. Making Waves is produced by Shirley Road Productions, a Philadelphia-based, award winning non-profit production organization founded in 1991. In a press release the company writes,

“Philadelphia’s historic Boathouse Row, where great rowers and Olympic champions have trained for over 150 years, is the setting for Making Waves, a documentary that looks at the elite world of rowing and how it perpetuates exclusion in subtle ways. Beautifully shot in high definition, the documentary focuses on several passionate rowers from diverse backgrounds. Recounting their own experiences with exclusion and change as class and gender barriers have gradually worn down, their stories also reveal the sport’s failure to truly reflect today’s diverse society. Making Waves examines the nuances of race and ethnic relations, makes us think about the complexities of change, provides a lesson in basic fairness and encourages dialogue about inclusion and equal access to opportunity.”

Frances McElroy, producer and director at Shirley Road Productions, says in an e-mail to HTBS that she is working with Philadelphia’s PBS station on trying to air the film on a national level. Of course, the dream is also to get an international distribution, Frances writes.

Frances and her team at Shirley Road Productions have worked for four years with the film, which runs for 52:30 minutes. DVDs of the documentary are available for individual home viewing for $30, which includes first class postage and handling. The production company is still working with establishing a rate for institutions of higher education, public libraries, museums and other organizations.

Inquiries about purchase should be addressed to:

To watch the film trailer, please click here and then click on ‘play trailer’ by Making Waves movie clip.

Here at HTBS we are keeping our fingers crossed that Making Waves will be shown nation wide and eventually also reach rowers and rowing friends abroad.

With special thanks to rowing historian Bill Lanouette!

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