When the bicycling team from Rwanda entered the Olympic Stadium in London in 2012, I’m sure many viewers scratched their heads as Rwanda never had such a team before. How it came about, and why, is beautifully in this brief 85-minute documentary by direct T.C. Johnstone. I love documentaries (which is obvious from the many I’ve reviewed here on Amazon) and I’m always fascinated by the process, and the gamble that directors (and the producers of course) take when starting a project. These films are made in real time and, unlike a scripted drama, the director has no idea where the story will lead, or even if there is a “story” there.
Johnstone, a bike rider himself followed cycling legend Jock Boyer as he moved to this war-ravaged African country to help train the first-ever Rwanda National Cycling team. The men he started with didn’t even have adequate equipment at the beginning and there was often a clash in cultures or problems with language. The film was on a tight budget and yet Johnstone didn’t know how long it would take to film. But he got it done and it’s an endearing film as well as an exciting one.
The folks at First Run Features (the distributor of the DVD) went the extra mile (no pun intended, really) by adding as, a bonus feature, an hour long three-part “Behind the Scenes” documentary. Unlike most (now-requisite for DVD release) “Making of …” films, this one does not repeat scenes you have seen as filler. This was a real-time story made as the filming progress ed until its final release. It’s narrated by Johnstone. So if you’ve seen the main film when it played a film festival – or, maybe, in a theater – you might want to get the DVD to see this background story. It added a lot to an already engrossing film for me.
I hope you found this review both informative and helpful.