Uphill All the Way

A film by Khin May Lwin and Robert Nassau

US | 2000 | 80 minutes | Color | DVD | Order No. 02766


UPHILL ALL THE WAY is the astounding true story of five troubled teenage girls who face the challenge of their lives: a 2,500-mile bicycle journey along the United States Continental Divide. The girls are students at the DeSisto School, a rehabilitative high school in Massachusetts for drug addicts, victims of sexual abuse, and juveniles that have had run-ins with the law. Despite the emotional risks posed by their unstable backgrounds, they sign up for the bike trip as an opportunity to prove individually and collectively that they can reach once unfathomable heights. If finished, the trek will be the first time in their lives the girls have set a goal and met it. Over the course of three months, they mature in ways that are visible, thought provoking and completely unexpected.

Rather than portray these girls as victims, UPHILL ALL THE WAY highlights their resilience and ability to persevere despite great emotional and physical barriers. Providing much-needed alternatives for young women to learn how to improve their self-esteem, this unique documentary is an inspiration for every viewer – both young and old – to accomplish great feats in their lives. Narrated by Susan Sarandon.


"…presents the image of young people that we need to see more of.”

Gordon Quinn Executive Producer, "Hoop Dreams"; Producer/Director, "Vietnam Long Time Coming"


Mary Orear Camden Girls Film Festival

"…an epic of personal growth...deeply moving and thought-provoking..."

Murry Schlesinger New York City Board of Education

"...raises profound questions about contemporary adolescent issues…on a very personal level…”

Slawomir Grunberg Filmmaker

“***1/2… Lively discussions and interactions provide welcome insight into the minds of these troubled teens who learn that the ability to persevere despite great emotional and physical adversity is invaluable in boosting one’s self-esteem. Well edited, thought-provoking and – believe it or not – bristling with suspense, this is a highly recommended.”

A. Cantú Video Librarian

“Mixing insightful moments of emotional struggle with footage of the bikers determinedly working their way through the mountains, this effective program…is an inspiring choice for teen and adult audiences.”

Candace Smith Booklist

“…the positive message of perseverance, improving self-esteem, and the individual’s responsibility for turning one’s life around is important for at-risk teens. Librarians that support programs for troubled teens or curriculum to train educators that work in these programs will find an audience for this video.”

Ann West La Prise School Library Journal

“Highly Recommended…The honesty of this documentary is astounding…Counselors and therapists will find much to discuss in this portrayal of successful adventure therapy…The film is also appropriate for teenagers…It is inspiring that this group of fragile seeming girls is tough enough to finish the trip.”

Amy Brunvand Educational Media Reviews Online


  • CINE Golden Eagle Award


Khin May Lwin

Khin May Lwin was born in Rangoon, Burma, and grew up in the United States. She earned a BA from the University of Pittsburgh and went on to attend the American Film Institute, in Los Angeles, CA. UPHILL ALL THE WAY is Khin May’s first feature film. In the making of the documentary, she became a trusted member of the bike trip team by living with the group and biking most of the Continental Divide course with them.

Robert Nassau

Robert Nassau is a director, producer, and editor based in New York City. His editing credits include the feature documentary "Free Tibet" (1998), released by the Shooting Gallery; and "The It Factor" (2001), a series for Bravo. Other editing clients have included NBC, CBS, PBS, TLC, MTV, and ESPN. His short films, "Hair Story" (1994), "Dog" (1995), and "Telemarketer" (1998) have been exhibited and awarded at film festivals in New York, Boston, New Orleans, Chicago, Austria, Poland, Spain, and Russia. He studied filmmaking at the Rhode Island School of Design and at FAMU in Prague, Czech Republic. (09/09)


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