Rwandan cycling film premiere gets backing


The Goodwill Ambassador for the charity Aegis Trust for genocide prevention, Clive Owen has hailed the London premiere of the award-winning documentary Rising from Ashes.

The film, narrated by fellow Hollywood legend Forest Whitaker, tells the story of a group of Rwandan genocide survivors overcoming adversity and poverty to set up Team Rwanda, their country's national cycling squad, and the attempt by one of them, Adrien Niyonshuti, to compete at the London 2012 Olympic Games.

With the help of Jock Boyer, the first American to ride the Tour de France and a man with his own dark past to overcome, Adrien and his colleagues - who, in other circumstances, might have been mortal enemies - come together to forge a bright future through cycling.

"It's a truly extraordinary story; one that deserves the largest possible audience," Owen said. "So often when people think of Rwanda, they just think 'genocide."

Yes, that legacy is very real, but so is the courage of an amazing new generation of Rwandans finding ways to overcome that and work together. Team Rwanda, in Rising from Ashes, exemplifies that spirit."

This heart-wrenching yet exceptionally uplifting and inspiring documentary is a shining example of how sport can empower, heal and reconcile.

"Rwanda is a country that has undergone catastrophe during the Genocide against the Tutsi in 1994." Niyonshuti said. "It is changing its future, and I believe that when people see what we are doing, they'll change their minds from what they thought of Rwanda."

Also lending their support on the night will be Olympic track cycling gold medallist Philip Hindes MBE, UCI president Pat McQuaid, and four-times Ironman world champion Chrissie Wellington.

With the production covering three continents over six years, Rising from Ashes has been an epic undertaking for its director, T.C. Johnstone, Project Rwanda and the production team at Gratis 7 Media Group. Since its release it has won seven awards in the US and the Caribbean.

The London premiere will take place on May 9 at the Odeon Leicester Square. All proceeds from the event will go to support both Team Rwanda and the Aegis Trust.