Jacob Seigel-Boettner may be new to directing feature-length documentaries, but he is not new to the power of bicycles. He and his brother Isaac were both brought home from the hospital in a bicycle trailer. He grew up in a household where bikes were used as much as possible and family vacations were often by bike.
But “With My Own Two Wheels” is not about Jacob or Isaac, who co-directed the film. The film is about how bicycles can drastically change life around the world.
“I got the chance to see bike for people who didn’t get them each year under the Christmas tree,” said Jacob.
You can catch the film Thursday, 7 p.m. at REI in South Lake Union. Proceeds will benefit World Bicycle Relief, which builds bicycles in Africa meant to endure and empower, and Cascade Bicycle Club’s Major Taylor Project, an after-school program that empowers area youth through bicycles. Jacob said he thinks its important to emphasize the need and power of bicycles both globally and locally. He will speak at the screening, along with representatives from WBR and the Major Taylor Project.
The film features five people from different parts of the world whose lives are impacted in a positive way by bicycles. From the film website:
For Fred, a health worker in Zambia, the bicycle is a means of reaching twice as many patients. For Bharati, a teenager in India, it provides access to education. For Mirriam, a disabled Ghanaian woman, working on bicycles is an escape from the stigma attached to disabled people in her community. For Carlos, a farmer in Guatemala, pedal power is a way to help neighbors reduce their impact on the environment. For Sharkey, a young man in California, the bicycle is an escape from the gangs that consume so many of his peers.
The film was shot on a “totally psychotic two-month trip” around the world to each of the locations. After being released in February, the film has had dozens of screenings and is making the rounds in the festival circuit.
Filmmakers and Word Bicycle Relief are also working on an educational companion so the film can be used in schools. Kids would learn how their lives would be impacted if they didn’t have mechanized transportation. They would also learn how they can take action to help, perhaps by holding a fundraiser to buy bikes for World Bicycle Relief or holding a bike drive for their local bicycle non-profit.