Two years ago, brothers Mark and Gary Lawrence sat in their Rochester, MA living room and listened to a friend, Jeff Morse, talk about needing to find a filmmaker. Morse was interested in making a documentary about the charitable organization that he founded in 2007 to support and honor the families of emergency response personnel who had fallen in the line of duty.
According to the Brotherhood Ride’s mission statement, “Each year we select an unsung hero(s) from around the country to honor by riding our bicycles to their hometown and providing financial and emotional support to their families and friends as a reminder that they have not and would not be forgotten.” The ride also builds camaraderie amongst emergency workers along the way.
“He had no idea we had attended Full Sail University’s Film Program,” Mark says. “We told him right away that we were in.”
A few months later, the brothers flew to Naples, FL where they tagged along, cameras rolling, as 37 riders made the 1,600-mile trek to New York City. “Every day the group would ride so many miles and then spend the night hosted by different organizations, usually an Elk’s Lodge,” Mark says. “Along the way we captured everyone’s stories.”
In addition to being a fundraising initiative, Mark says an important goal of the ride was to show the brotherly and sisterly love amongst emergency workers. “From town to town we heard stories about emergency workers who had fallen in the line of duty. Sharing this emotional side ended up being one of the biggest themes of the movie.”
The final cut of The Brotherhood Ride film premiered at theaters in Florida and Massachusetts on September 25, 2012.
“We did this because it sounded like a good cause but also a tremendous opportunity to get out there and do something big.” Mark says. “It was a good story and it needed to be told.”
This was the first major feature documentary for the pair but Mark says it won’t be the last. “We had previously made shorts but nothing on this scale or magnitude. It was a lot of work and very tiring, but we can’t wait to find the next great story so that we can do it again. If you can find a good story, you can really make a difference.”
Visit the Brotherhood Ride website for more information on the charity.