The documentary is one of the trickiest mediums for storytelling.
First of all, you don't have control of the story—you can't make it fit the story you want to tell. You have to follow what you find. Documentaries can uncover stories that the public may have missed and put them together creatively.
However, moviegoers often view the form skeptically, because it's difficult to do it well. Even a good documentary can seem unpolished or unfinished.
Rising from Ashes is a welcome exception to this.
The bicycle is a primary form of transportation in Rwanda. It was also a means for survival during the genocide. The country has made great strides towards healing the deep wounds left by the horrific events of 1994, but the work is still far from finished. So when legendary bike builder Tom Ritchie hears that a few young Rwandans have formed a cycling team, the story begins.
He persuades his old racing rival, the eccentric Jock Boyer (first American to compete in the Tour de France), to come with him to Rwanda and be a part of hosting a race they called "The Wooden Bike Classic." There they meet Adrien Niyonshuti, a strong-spirited young Rwandan with an incredible aptitude for the sport. Not only did the Rwandan riders exhibit a real talent, but they had a reason to ride. After Adrien won the Classic, he was asked what he hoped for next. He responded that he hoped that these white folk would keep racing with them: "I think it would bring hope to our lives and our country."
To make a long story short, Jock moves to Rwanda and begins coaching the beginnings of a national team. Their story is truly remarkable as they embark on a journey to compete in the London Olympic Games.
But really, ...1