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CONTRIBUTED PHOTO CONTRIBUTED PHOTO "Rising From Ashes," 7 p.m. Jan. 22, ArtsQuest Center, SteelStacks, 101 Founders Way, Bethlehem

Film unspools Team Rwanda

Wednesday, January 15, 2014 by The Press in Focus

"Rising From Ashes," an award-winning feature-length documentary about Team Rwanda will be shown 7 p.m. Jan. 22, ArtsQuest Center, SteelStacks, 101 Founders Way, Bethlehem.

The film is about the development of a national cycling team in Rwanda, the East African nation torn apart by genocide in 1994 in which 500,000, or one-fifth of the population there, perished.

Cycling legend Jacques "Jock" Boyer moved to Rwanda in 2006 to help a group of struggling survivors of the genocide pursue their dream of creating a national cycling team. Members of the fledgling team were children left orphaned by the genocide a decade earlier.

Team Rwanda began as a cycling organization, but became so much more once organizers realized the greater needs of the athletes. Many of the riders could not read or write, lived in homes without water and electricity, were malnourished and had never received healthcare.

Daphne Howland of The Village Voice called Rising From Ashes "a remarkable documentary. It's not just about a cycling team. It's a testament to what happens when human beings care for one another."

Since its release in 2012, the film, narrated by Oscar winner Forest Whitaker, has won awards at more than a dozen film festivals worldwide.