The Athlete

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Running the streets of Rome in 1960, an unknown, barefooted Ethiopian man stunned the world by winning Olympic gold in the marathon.

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This soldier and quiet son of a shepherd would be acknowledged by many as the greatest long distance runner the world had ever known. One evening while returning to his home in Addis Ababa from training in the Ethiopian countryside, Bikila was involved in a tragic car accident which left him paralyzed from the waist down. Unable to walk and faced with the greatest challenge of his life, he struggled to maintain his will to live and in the process discovered a deeper meaning of competition, taking up archery for the Paralympics and competing as a handicapped dog sledder in Norway. Though his running career had come to a tragic end, the race of his life had a new beginning.


Rasselas Lakew ... Abebe Bikila
Dag Malmberg ... Onni
Ruta Gedmintas ... Charlotte
Abba Waka Dessalegn ... The Priest
Directed By:
Davey Frankel
Rasselas Lakew
Written By:
Rasselas Lakew
Davey Frankel
Mikael Aemiro Awake
Produced by:
Mesereta Argaw ... associate producer
Davey Frankel ... producer
Michael Frenschkowski ... line producer
Lise Mette Jensen ... line producer
Rasselas Lakew ... producer
Susannah Ludwig ... associate producer
Chris Ouwinga ... executive producer
Izabella Tzenkova ... line producer
Darryn Welch ... producer
"Best in Fest" Edinburgh Film Festival
"Lions Award" International Film Festival Rotterdam
"Audience Award" African Film Festival St. Louis
"Best Film" CinemAfrica Film Festival Stockholm
"Special Jury Prize" Nashville Film Festival
"Best of Fest" Minneapolis/St. Paul Int’l Film Festival
"Audience Award" Festival de Cine Africano Tarifa
"Audience Award" Berkshire International Film Festival
"Audience Award" Bahamas International Film Festival
"Spirit of Freedom Award" Bahamas International Film Festival
"Opening Night Selection" Durango Independent Film Festival
"Best Film" AfryKamera (Poland)
"Opening Night Selection" AfryKamera (Poland)
"Best Narrative Feature" Mendocino Film Festival
"Best Actor" Brooklyn Film Festival
"Best of Fest" Roxbury International Film Festival
"Inspired by World Cinema" Santa Rosa International Film Festival
"Official Selection" More than 50 Film Festivals
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