Mountainfilm: “I Am Able”

Jacob and Isaac Seigel-Boettner’s “I Am Able” screens at Mountainfilm on Saturday, May 23, The Nugget, 5:45 p.m.; Sunday, May 24, twice: Telluride Library, 9:15 a.m., part of Mountainfilm on Tour and Mountainfilm for Students presentation and Masons Hall, 6:45 p.m.

Full Mountainfilmschedule here.

See notes below about other appearances by the “I Am Able” Team and scroll down to hear a podcast with Jacob and Isaac.

Pedal Born Pictures, Isaac and Jacob Seigel Boettner

Pedal Born Pictures, Isaac and Jacob Seigel Boettner

Two brothers.

Several hard-hitting, poignant films.

One big idea.

The films by brothers and co-directors Jacob and Isaac Seigel-Boettner are all about empowerment through cycling, bikes as tools of change.

Case in point.

In 2011, Jacob and Isaac brought “With My Own Two Wheels” to Telluride Mountainfilm. The short feature weaves together the experiences of five individuals into a single story about how the bicycle can change the world one pedal stroke at a time, transporting riders out of poverty, towards an education, and over the mountains of social and cultural discrimination – and despair.

The newest film from Pedal Born Pictures, “I Am Able,” screens over Memorial Weekend at Mountainfilm 2015.

Frederick Ndabaramiye painting. At 15, his hands were cut off by militants. Now he rides a bike, paints and enables other who believe they are disabled.

Frederick Ndabaramiye painting. At 15, his hands were cut off by militants. Now he rides a bike, paints and enables other who believe they are disabled.

As a boy Frederick Ndabaramiye witnessed one of the worst genocides in history. At age 15, (in 1994), he was riding a bus that was overtaken by Interahamwe (Rwandan) militia, on a 100-day violence spree that ultimately claimed over 800,000 lives.

The rebels demanded Frederick kill his fellow passengers. When he refused, they killed everyone themselves, then took the teen into the forest, cut off his hands with a dull machete and beat him. Frederick was left for dead.

But Frederick Ndabaramiye did not die. He went into a six-month coma, but remained in a hospital recovering for a full year. Recovering emotionally, however, was a whole other story, which unfolded happily in the Imbabazi Orphanage, where Frederick was able to teach himself how to feed, bathe, and dress with no hands.

And ultimately to paint and cycle.

Over Shoulder Painting

Amidst his long, but determined recovery, Frederick launched the cycling team that today rides through rural villages to spread its message, one familiar to those familiar with the Telluride Adaptive Sports Program: disability is not an inability and we are all able to do what we want to do, just differently. Frederick proves it by cycling with no hands.

Today, Frederick Ndabaramiye is an artist, world speaker, co-founder and director of the Ubumwe Community Center for disabled in Gisenyi, Rwanda. He is also co-founder of “I Am Able.”

Isaac Seigel-Boettner in action

Isaac Seigel-Boettner in action

Jacob and Isaac Boettner were hard-wired to make cycle-centric movies. They both literally came home in a bike trailer from the hospital where they were born. They grew up mountain-biking, ultimately racing. When Jacob was 13, the family took a four-month bike trek across the U.S., retracing the path of Lewis and Clark. But neither brother ever intended to be a filmmaker.

To learn more about Jacob and Isaac and their work, click the “play” button and listen to their story.

Jacob Seigel-Boettner, surrounded by his muses.

Jacob Seigel-Boettner, surrounded by his muses.

Other events featuring Team “I Am Able”

-Frederick will be exhibiting the paintings that he created for the film as part of the Gallery Walk on Friday, starting 3:30 p.m., Ah Haa.  The paintings will be on display and for sale throughout the festival.

– Jacob and Isaac are participating in the “Back to the Bike” Coffee and Conversation on Sunday at 8 a.m. Ah Haa East.

-Frederick will be signing copies of his newly-published autobiography as part of the Reading Frenzy on Sunday at 2:00pm in the Hotel Madeline Ballroom in Mountain Village.

-Frederick will be participating in the “The View from Africa” Coffee and Conversation on Monday at 8a.m. Honga’s Lotus Petal.


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