By Selina Thomas
For The Signal
“SCRUM,” A critically acclaimed documentary film likened to a real-life “Remember the Titans,” will make its world premiere here in Santa Clarita on Sunday. While Santa Clarita may not be known for film premieres, Executive Producer Jeffrey Thompson, a long-time Santa Clarita resident, and award-winning Director Thomas Morgan decided to forgo the typical “Hollywood” venue in favor of a premiering this inspirational film in a city similar to the one featured in the documentary.
“SCRUM” is a documentary film shot in an affluent diversifying North Carolina suburb and chronicles the story of the first African American NCAA rugby head coach to win a national championship. The audience sees firsthand the challenges, thrills and personal sacrifices coach Frank McKinney and his team make while pursuing a championship, including Frank’s unique way of recruiting diverse athletes, some who have never played rugby prior to college, and his passion for preparation knowing there is a cost to winning and a cost to success, with strong preparation at the core.
The film leaves the audience with a profound sense of the team’s commitment, courage and challenges that cause viewers to value their journey and root for them along the way.
“After more than a year of being shuttered during a tumultuous time, we felt it was a wonderful opportunity to highlight a truly positive story about triumph, perseverance and overcoming adversity,” said Thompson, a veteran of Walt Disney Studios and executive producer on the film. “We decided to premiere right here in Santa Clarita, a diversifying suburb similar to thousands of towns across America that are culturally, educationally and economically diversifying that cause residents to finding new ways to win together. We hope this film inspires conversations among our neighbors, colleagues and friends that are sometimes difficult to have.”
Morgan shared his journey of bringing the story of his longtime friend, McKinney, to life. “Even as Frank’s story and that of his championship rugby team unfolded, I found myself rethinking the realities of my friend’s life and realized this story had to be told, and in a big way. Most people, no matter their background, social economic position or race, will connect to this film.”
Likened to a real-life “Remember the Titans,” this documentary is garnering critical acclaim even in advance of being widely released due to its narrative, thought-provoking dialogue and heartwarming conclusion. The premiere also serves as a fundraising event for the newest branch of the NAACP, the Santa Clarita branch.
“The proceeds raised from this event will support our scholarship initiatives for students right here in the Santa Clarita Valley,” said NAACP SCV Chapter President Valerie Bradford, one of the local leaders who saw the value in bringing “SCRUM” right here to Santa Clarita.
Morgan, McKinney and many local dignitaries will be on hand for a VIP red carpet and reception this Sunday beginning at 5 p.m. For more information on event details and tickets go to: tickettailor.com/events/naacpsantaclarita/578657. To view the official trailer for the film, visit: youtu.be/rAKV4UH0_K0.