Mountain biker, Aneela McKenna, shares with us a very personal story on how racism has impacted her both personally and professionally. This revealing short film invites viewers to open their hearts and minds to how racial discrimination feels, and consider the way it impacts on individuals and society at large, and invites everyone to recognise and actively stand up to racism in order to be the best, most enriched version of themselves.
We thank Aneela for her bravery and vulnerability in telling her story. Its importance cannot be overstated.
After the Storm
Following its critically acclaimed reception at film festivals and screening events around the world since its limited release in November 2021, now, in the lead up to the United Nations’ International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination on March 21st, it’s a particularly relevant moment to unveil After the Storm film to the public.
Filmed by Andy McCandlish and directed, produced and edited by McCandlish and Andy McKenna – After the Storm reveals the remarkable story of Scots Asian diversity pioneer Aneela McKenna who has tackled racism and discrimination in her own life with the help of mountain biking.
Applauded by cyclists and non-cyclists alike, this revealing short film invites viewers to open their hearts and minds to how racial discrimination feels, and consider the way it impacts on individuals and society at large, and invites everyone to recognise and actively stand up to racism in order to be the best, most enriched version of themselves.
A few years ago, Aneela McKenna was at breaking point. Embroiled in a racism grievance case against her boss, her self-confidence, respect and belief had plummeted to an all-time low and she needed a timeout.
Taking an extended career break, Aneela embarked on a solo mission on her trusty mountain bike in search of what she most needed to mend and renew herself. She turned to her favourite place in the world – the Outer Hebrides Islands, the site of many happy memories of adventures with her husband Andy.
In this film Aneela and Andy revisit these remote Scottish islands and pedal their way through life’s ups and downs. Amid stunning scenery, the pair ride and reflect on the realities which drove her to this unspoilt landscape and the refreshed outlook and strength she returned home with.
Moments of pain, frustration, triumph, laughter and defiance are uncovered on the beaches, in the waves, over a bothy fireside dram and amidst the mountains where their connection to Scotland and one another is strongest. After the Storm reveals how Aneela’s solo trip sparked changes in the couple’s lives – both personally and professionally – and they ask everyone to look in the mirror, face up to racial discrimination, consider their role as allies, and become truly anti-racist.
“If the film can engage even one person who would ordinarily have disengaged from this kind of story or argued that racism does not exist in 2021 – it’s done its job. We hope viewers are left with a sense of what discrimination can feel like, how it affects others, and to reflect upon what they can do to help enrich society and the world by making it a more diverse and inclusive space.” – Aneela McKenna.
“It is an incredibly powerful challenge to the MTB industry to sort out our act and not just claim that there are no obvious barriers to folk on the basis of race… and anyone can ride a bike. We recognise that we do need to do more to ‘normalise the difference’ in our imagery and activity… and be much more welcoming and relatable to folk from a different background. I’m certainly ‘disgusted by my ethnicity’ from time to time… and we have built much of this country on the back of a horrific colonial legacy and slavery which is not taught nearly enough in schools. But this was also a touching love story … the two of you are beacons of inspiration in how we might instead support one another through thick and thin and never lose a sense of nonsense. It was masterfully filmed and aesthetically beautiful – very proud to have helped in our small way.” – Pamela Barclay, (previously) Marketing Director, Endura
After the Storm was filmed by Andy McCandlish and directed, produced and edited by McCandlish and Andy McKenna.
The film was made with thanks to special film guests, MTB stars and diversity champions: Danny MacAskill, Eliot Jackson, Isla Short, Greg Minnaar, Nathan and Ruben de Vaux, Steve Peat, Emma Neale, Phil Young, Jenni Gwiazdowski, Manon Carpenter, Lloyd Grose, Frit Tam, Kerry MacPhee, Jo Shwe and Rob Warner. Project partners: this film could not have been made without the financial and moral support of Santa Cruz Bicycles, Shimano, Endura, Wilderness Trail Bikes and Hotlines Europe.