bts: Episode 3 ~ Crossing the Finish Line

The final race is approaching for the first Rwandan national cycling team and everything the “Rising From Ashes” crew has been working toward is on the line.  Will they get the shots they need to get the story they have been so passionately seeking?  Emotions are raw and tensions run high as the RFA crew realizes that nothing in the documentary filmmaking game is certain. Zacuto brings you the action as the RFA crew prepares for the final race in episode 3. 

“The deal is that I have one objective that I have to get done at this point which is cover this race which is the Olympic qualifier and I’ve got three shots, one is the race and the other two are to kind of figure it out,” says Director, T.C. Johnstone.

Rules are rules and Producer, Greg Kwedar realizes just how delicate the situation is.  While the crew is trying to get their shots, the race organizer tells them they got too close to the cyclists in the time trials.  Unfortunately, this means that this time they won’t be able to ride motorcycles to get the close-up shots in the final race.  Kwedar believes with the right communication, the RFA crew can come up with a compromise, but is this too little too late? 

“Just coming to the realization that we may not get the close-ups of Adrian we need was extremely frustrating,” says DP, Jeremy Rogers. 

The team makes a huge financial decision to enlist the help of something that could really take this documentary to another level, but will it all come crashing down before the final race?

“Like any movie, you get through a climax and somehow the story has to wrap up.  It’s those moments after the climax when you really say what it’s all about,” says Kwedar. 

The excitement of the race ends and the episode dramatically turns as the RFA crew visits the grave of Godfrey, one of the Rwandan race members killed by genocide.

“It was in the moment of silence that I really realized what this whole thing was all about and just exactly what the story is that we’re making,” says Johnstone.

Come watch the drama unfold in the final episode of the bts trilogy!

This was Zacuto’s first bts production and it’s been a massive undertaking in logistics, shooting and editing.  We would like to thank everyone who has helped us along the way.  “Rising From Ashes” premieres early 2012.  Check back to for updates on the film’s release.

A Zacuto Films Production. Produced by Steve Weiss, Jens Bogehegn, Scott Lynch, Greg Kwedar and Daniel Skubal. Director of Photography Jens Bogehegn; Cinematography by Jeff Waldron; Lead Editor Daniel Skubal, Assistant Editor Chris Voelz; Graphic Design by Daniel Skubal and Chris Voelz; Sound Recordist Sean McCormick; Location Director Jake Hamilton; Directed by Steve Weiss.

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10 Responses to “bts: Episode 3 ~ Crossing the Finish Line”

  1. Darren on September 9th, 2011 12:55 pm

    What a great series to capture the challenges and diifficulties of shooting documentaries like this… Well done!

  2. Darren on September 9th, 2011 12:55 pm

    What a great series to capture the challenges and diifficulties of shooting documentaries like this… Well done!

  3. Gary Nadeau on September 16th, 2011 11:20 am

    Congrats Steve and Jens.


    Best BTS episode yet. Thanks for making this! 



  4. Anonymous on September 17th, 2011 5:26 pm

    Thanks for putting together the BTS series with the “Rising from Ashes” crew. The passion and effort of the everyone involved is inspirational. 

  5. T.c. Johnstone on September 19th, 2011 4:52 pm

    We are in the mist of the final push right now. Greg and I are in the mix on scheduling out trip to Chicago to show these guys. If you ever want really honest feedback.. Steve and Jens, really honest. I’m a better filmmaker for it.  Jump on the website and we’ll make sure we let you know when the film is releasing. Pretty amazing what’s happening as it’s coming together. Thanks for watching JJ! T.C. 

  6. Daniel on September 27th, 2011 3:26 pm

    love it

  7. will binks on October 3rd, 2011 8:48 pm

    very well done, was expecting i guess more cinematic shots from zacuto in the making of the doc (lens choice etc) but of course understand the tight shoot time, and unexpected places to be etc  and sound and thought the STORY was king. great ending

  8. Steve Weiss on October 6th, 2011 8:59 am

    You have to realize Will in a documentary it’s a one take environment, and speed is of the essence.  You don’t always get the opportunity to light like I would in a narrative piece.  I would mucy rather have the moment and have it look like crap then miss the moment because I was screwing around with lighting.  Interviews are different of course unless those are inbetween getting moments and time is scarce on those too.  Obvously, you want it to look great and get the moments, that’s the goal.  I actually thought we accomplished both here for the most part.

  9. G. Chrisafakis on December 13th, 2011 2:53 pm

    Wonderfull!!! Reminds me of what filming is all about and gives strength and insiration to carry on. Thank you!

  10. Rabi on December 18th, 2011 11:31 pm

    Inspirational series. Fantastic work; I hope to see more like it. Can’t wait to see RFA finished. Thank you.