Rising from the Ashes
Forest Whitaker, narrator
Executive produced and narrated by Forest Whitaker, this stunningly shot film follows Jock (the first American to compete in the Tour de France) and his Rwandan riders as they slowly but steadily learn what it means to be a professional cyclist — how to train, how to compete, how to live the life of a top level athlete. As they get better and better, the riders of Team Rwanda give their countrymen a vision of something greater than themselves and their history: hope for a future.
In Rwanda, ‘The Land of a Thousand Hills’, the bicycle is essential to life. It is how you move. It is how you work. And during the Genocide, it is how you survived. Stand on any corner of any village throughout the country, and farmers will scream down hillsides barefoot on 25-year-old bikes loaded with 100 pounds of potatoes, taxi drivers peddle diligently with a mother and daughter in tow, and a child amuses himself for hours guiding a bent wheel down alleyways. It seems natural that bike racing has a rich history in Rwanda.
American cycling legend Jock Boyer with
Rwandan Olympian Adrien Niyonshuti
Jock Boyer is one of America’s most fabled cyclists. He grew up battling Tom Ritchey in Northern California’s competitive cycling leagues, out of this rivalry a mutual admiration and friendship was born. At
Olympian and Team Rwanda member
The star of Team Rwanda is Adrien Niyonshuti. Adrien lost 60 family members in the Genocide, including six brothers and his mother’s entire line of heritage. Maybe because he sought purpose behind his pain, maybe he just had a gift, but Adrien started cycling. In 2006, he rode a mountain bike for the first time — catching Jock and winning a local race, which forged the beginning of a relationship between two broken men. In 2011, Adrien qualified for the Olympic Games, a bold achievement that would send shockwaves throughout Rwanda, a living example that the ghosts and demons of our past have no power over our future.
Filmmaker T.C. Johnstone
Rwanda is a country recovering from one of the world’s most devastating genocides and they have longed for heroes. The riders of Team Rwanda have become more than just a cycling team; they have become ambassadors of hope and men to look up to. They have given the country a vision of something greater then themselves and a renewed sense of purpose.
Filmmaker T.C. Johnstone is the director, producer and editor. The film is narrated by by Forest Whitaker and is 80 minutes. RISING FROM ASHES will have its worldwide theatrical premiere on August 2 in New York and Los Angeles.