Ajyal Film Festival 2019

All Films

Town of Runners (Town of Runners)

Contemporary World Cinema

Jerry Rothwell / Feature Documentary / Ethiopia, United Kingdom / 2012 / 86 min / Colour / HDCAM
In Amharic, English / Arabic, English subtitles
Interests: Documentary, Sports
MENA Premiere
Rated: General Audiences. Suitable for ages 4 and up.


Bejoki. A small, impoverished town in the southern highlands of Ethiopia. Not, perhaps, the environment one first thinks of when imagining the training ground for some of the world’s best long-distance runners. Yet athletes from Bejoki, all of them trained by one Sentayehu Eshetu, took all four gold medals for long-course track events at the Beijing Olympics. Coach Sentayehu, whose efforts have brought the world great athletes like Tirunesh Dibaba and Kenenisa Bekele, has 243 would-be medallists under his strict training regime – no alcohol, no boyfriends, no girlfriends. ‘Town of Runners’ focuses on Alemi Tsegaye and Hawli Megersa, two championship hopefuls, as they move away from their families and all that is familiar in their quest for athletic excellence – and a better life than the one they leave behind. Ethiopia took seven medals at the London Olympics; perhaps not surprising when they have this kind of inspiration behind them.

Official Film Website

About the Directors

Born in 1962, Jerry Rothwell is a documentary filmmaker who helped found the UK Film Council’s First Light programme for young filmmakers. Documentaries include ‘Deep Water’ (2006), which won the Grierson Award in Edinburgh; ‘Heavy Load’ (2008), winner of the Audience Award at Britdoc; and ‘Donor Unknown’ (2010), which won Best Feature at the Tribeca Online Festival and the Audience Award at Silverdocs.


Jerry Rothwell
Al Morrow, Dan Demissie
Alan Mackay
Vincent Watts, Mulatu Astatke
Jerry Rothwell
Coach Sentayehu Eshetu, Hawii Megersa, Alemi Tsegaye, Biruk Fikadu

blog comments powered by Disqus