Afghan Cycles is a short documentary film about the Women's National Cycling Team of Afghanistan.
"The bicycle has done more to emancipate women than anything else in the world. It gives a woman a feeling of freedom and self-reliance. The moment she takes her seat she knows she can't get into harm unless she gets off her bicycle, and away she goes, the picture of free, untrammeled womanhood." - Susan B. Anthony
Nowhere is this quote more true than in Afghanistan today. Afghan Cycles introduces the first women to ride bikes in the country, illustrating the gender and social barriers that the team is breaking, one pedal stroke at a time. Highlighting 4 of the 12 teammates, we look at their lives on and off the bike. From training on dangerous trucking highways to following them through a typical day in Kabul, the film shares the intimate story of these brave and passionate young women who feel free when they are on their bikes in an otherwise oppressive culture.
To understand the cultural shift that these women are igniting, we spoke with Parliament member and Presidential hopeful, Fawzia Koofi. She speaks to the conditions of women's lives in Afghanistan, and the cultural benefits of women in sport. We also sat down with Heather Barr of the Human Rights Watch who has been working in women's prisons throughout the country as an expert on women's rights in Afghanistan. Our characters also include the President of the Afghan Olympic Committee and the coach of the team, who both explore how the team was formed and their goals for the women.
Meconpsis Films was asked to make a film to help launch a design competition to build a Cultural Centre in Bamiyan, a beautiful and historically renowned area of northern Afghanistan.
The project is executed by the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and UNESCO with the financial support of the Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Produced for UNESCO by Koukaba Mojadidi
Produced, Directed and Edited by Ben Bruges
Filmed by Mohammad Ranjbar and Jacob Simkin
Research by Ali M Latifi
Narration by Peter Griffin
Music by Adam Nicolas