Palestinian born, Dubai raised, New York educated, and now resident filmmaker of Amsterdam, Fadi Hindash, didn’t intend to make a film about bicycles given they are rather a mundane topic in The Netherlands, but Mama Agatha’s bicycle story touched a nerve.
Hindash was having coffee one afternoon, with a friend, when he saw in the distance a group of veiled Moroccan women learning to cycle in a park.
The image stayed with the filmmaker for days, “I suddenly realized the image appealed to me because these women were trying to integrate in a society that is not considered theirs. I myself have always felt like I am building a home away from home”.
And so it was that Mama Agatha, a refugee from Ghana but also now a resident of Amsterdam and an avid bicycle lover, found her filmmaker.
For Hindash, Mama Agatha’s bicycle story has been more than just a film project, “I didn’t imagine there was a whole world around cycling with enthusiasts, writers, bloggers, experts and organizations who believe wholeheartedly in the value of physical and social mobility, and work very hard at it”.
In the city of cyclist Hindash didn’t have to try hard to find cycling classes like the one he’d seen in the park, so the film started out as just a story about migrant women learning to ride, but after meeting Mama Agatha Hindash realised she had a story worth telling.
“As I listened to Mama Agatha’s personal story, the character developed further. This is a woman who managed to turn her suffering into a positive force that inspires those around her”.
The film tells us far more than just Mama Agatha’s story from refugee to community leader, and the women in her bicycle classes learn more than just a new physical skill, as Hindash observed the women gain a new confidence and a way to participate in a new country where most don’t even speak the language.
“Their faces said it all. They looked so happy as they progressed from class to class…it was so charming and touching”.
And so it seems that no matter where you live, or where you’re from, the language of bicycle love is universal.
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The film will be screening at festivals in 2015.
The Bike In My Life is a proud media sponsor of Mama Agatha.