Jacob & Isaac Seigel-Boettner

by David Kelly

Jacob Boettner with DP Ian Wexler (
Jacob Boettner with DP Ian Wexler (

Jacob and Isaac Seigel-Boettner grew up in California, equally addicted to the thrill of bicycling. In 2002, Jacob, his family, and several friends from Santa Barbara Middle School embarked on a four month trek across the United States, in the footsteps of Lewis and Clark. They called themselves the Corps of ReDiscovery. By the time Isaac was nine, the brothers were on a bike journey in the Austrian Alps. Their interests expanded to cinema while both brothers were attending UC Berkeley, where Jacob was pursuing a BA in Peace and Conflict Studies and Isaac was working towards a Film Studies degree.

In 2008, the brothers joined together for their first film collaboration — Mzungus in the Mist, the story of a group of junior high students pedaling the red dirt roads of Rwanda. The short film that resulted won the 2008 Michael Franti Power to the Peaceful Film Contest, and encouraged Jacob and Isaac to embark upon an even bigger project. They knew that their next short film, Pedal=Sight, was just the beginning of a larger story.

Jacob Boettner and Ian Wexler at the 2010 MY HERO (MY HERO)
Jacob Boettner and Ian Wexler at the 2010 MY HERO (MY HERO)

Pedal=Sight chronicles the impact of a bicycle upon the life of Bharati Phakad Date, a teenage girl in Sone Sangvi, India. Many families in her community do not send their daughters to school, as the long commute takes too much time away from their chores. The Boettners eloquently show how free bicycles from the Ashta No Kai organization allow Bharati and her friends to continue in school and still have time to take care of their homes. The film has garnered multiple awards, including the Daniel Eldon Activist award at the 2010 MY HERO International Film Festival.

Building on the success of Pedal=Sight, the Boettners continued to film stories of how bicycles can change lives for the better: for Fred, a health worker in Zambia, a bicycle means reaching twice as many patients; for Mirriam, a disabled Ghanaian woman, working on bicycles is a refuge 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; and for Sharkey, a young man in California, the bicycle is an escape from the gangs that consume so many of his peers. These individual tales coalesced into the feature film With My Own Two Wheels.

The filmmakers at work. (
The filmmakers at work. (

The movie just premiered at the 2011 Santa Barbara International Film Festival. In addition to being submitted to other film festivals around the world, With My Own Two Wheels will be shown on a grassroots screening tour organized in partnership with World Bicycle Relief. The goal of this tour is to bring bike clubs, advocacy groups, university departments, student groups, churches, mosques, temples, and synagogues across the country to organize screenings in their communities. The Boettners hope to turn the film into a fundraising tool, to collect used bicycles and donations to purchase bicycles for those in need around the world.

Page created on 8/2/2014 2:44:24 PM

Last edited 1/5/2017 4:55:37 PM

The beliefs, viewpoints and opinions expressed in this hero submission on the website are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the beliefs, viewpoints and opinions of The MY HERO Project and its staff.

Related Links

Pedal=Sight - MY HERO's online showing of Pedal=Sight
With My Own Two Wheels - Home site for the Boettners' film.
World Bicycle Relief - is dedicated to providing access to independence and livelihood through the power of bicycles.
Children's Dream Awards: Isaac & Jacob Seigel-Boettner - The Teen Press visits with Isaac and Jacob on the red carpet of Children Uniting Nations' 2011 Children Dream Awards at the Club Nokia in Los Angeles. They and their call to action film With My Own Two Wheels were honored with an Unsung Hero Award.