June 20, 2018
Meet the inspiring women who have come together to fight for their rights - to bicycle. Based in the mountainous province of Bamiyan, the National Cycling Team is Afghanistan's first women's racing league, even though the very act of riding is still considered a "morality crime."
SIFF 2018 (Documentary Special Mention)
Imagine being cursed, dodging hurled rocks, and avoiding angry cars all while catching death threats just for getting on your bike. That's what the women featured in AFGHAN CYCLES withstand as they pursue their cycling passions. Seattle-based filmmaker Sarah Menzies' first feature-length documentary follows the Afghan National Women's Cycling team and young riders in the northwest Bamyan Province as they navigate the societal forces working against them. Their story shines a light on the struggles many Afghan women face on a regular basis; discrimination and abuse is commonplace in their lives, but still they continue to ride despite the cultural barriers and powerful attempts to stop them. Sometimes, obstacles prove insurmountable and women are forced to quit riding: Frozan, a leader of the national team, decides to defect as they arrive in France for competition; without a home, friends, or a bike, it's all she can do to try to figure out how to seek asylum. Shot gorgeously with many of Afghanistan's serene mountain ranges acting as a backdrop, this film is sure to move audiences with its powerful source material and inspire belief in the struggle for human rights under the harshest of circumstances.
Sarah Menzies graduated from Gonzaga University with degrees in Broadcast Studies and Political Science in 2007. She has been a freelance videographer since 2010. Her short film Catch It (2014) played at BANFF Mountain Film Festival among other places. She is the founder of Let Media.
- Director: Sarah Menzies
- Country: USA, France, Afghanistan
- Year: 2018
- Running Time: 90 minutes
- Producer: Sarah Menzies, Jenny Nichols, Shannon Galpin, Caryn Capotosto, Anna Brones
- Cinematographers: Sarah Menzies, Jenny Nichols
- Editors: Tony Hale
- Website: Official Film Website
- Filmography: Debut Feature Film
- Language: Dari
- Has Subtitles: Yes