CHEETAH: THE NELSON VAILS STORY
Nelson Vails' story is a triumph over almost insurmountable odds. Nelson was the youngest of 10 children growing up in the Harlem projects and worked as a New York City bicycle messenger to support his family. Nicknamed "The Cheetah" because he was the fastest cat in the jungle, Nelson rode furiously while working, trained in Central Park after work and raced locally on weekends. He was thrust on to the world stage, represented the USA at the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, where he won the silver medal in the individual 1000-meter Match Sprints, behind countryman Mark Gorski. Becoming a pioneer for the African-American cycling community, this documentary explores the beginnings of his life in Harlem and his impact on the future generation of cyclists worldwide. It follows the triumph of Nelson’s achievements with the sobering reality of what becomes of athletes after retirement. We see Nelson’s resurgence today as an advocate for recreational cycling and as a role model for the African-American community, culminating in a reunion with teammate and opponent Mark Gorski, as they revisit the site of their historical race. In the end, Nelson’s story is simply about a kid whose love for the bicycle led him to transcend racial and economic barriers to becoming a legacy.
Nelson Vails Biography
Nelson Vails was the youngest of 10 children growing up in the Harlem projects. He started winning races in Central Park at a young age and worked as a New York City bicycle messenger to support his family. Vails rode furiously while working, trained in Central Park after work and raced locally on weekends. By 1981 it all paid off when he earned a spot on the U.S. team which led to a gold medal in 1983 in the Pan American games in Venezuela. He represented the USA at the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, California, where he won the silver medal in the individual 1000-meter Match Sprints, behind countryman Mark Gorski. Vails was the 1984 National Sprint Champion and National Tandem Sprint Champion in 1984, 1985 and 1986. In 1985 he earned a silver medal in the Tandem Sprint at the World Championships. In the 1980s and early 1990s he competed professionally in 6-Day circuits in Europe and in Japanese Keirin events from 1990 to 1995. After retiring, Nelson worked as a TV commentary and now leads bike tours through his Ride With Nelly foundation.
WHY WE NEED YOUR HELP?
We believe Nelson’s life story of triumph should be shared with the world, not only for sports fans and avid cyclists, but also as a documentation of diversity. It’s a great American story of a true Olympian. We’ve shot most of the film and are missing a few other footage and interviews, so we’re not far away. The finishing funds will be used to bring the film to fruition so it can realize it's fullest potential. Video rights to Olympic footage has to be licensed, and mastering a film professionally are costs we're not able to absorb. Nelson also plans on travelling to the cities (listed below) to screen the film. We’d also like to show this film at schools and community centers across the nation to spread the message of overcoming adversity. Without your help this film will never see the light of day!
New York City, NY
San Diego, CA
WHERE WILL YOUR SUPPORT GO?
As the trailer shows, the documentary has high production value. A professional team collaborated with Nelson to bring the best representation possible with meager funds. We need to deliver the film with broadcast quality to our audiences...
SOUND will have to be mastered at a professional facility.
ORIGINAL MUSIC will have to be composed and recorded.
VIDEO RIGHTS will have to be paid for. Archival footage of Olympic races unfortunately are not free and can get expensive.
DVD MASTERING with bonus materials for our donors who will receive this perk.
FILM FESTIVALS and SCREENINGS. We will organize a NYC and LA premiere, as well as Nelson needing funds travelling to film festivals and community events across the US to present the documentary and speak in person.
For your support of the Nelson Vails story. Lots of great gifts!
: Autographed 8x10 glossy Olympic photo of Nelson
: Official DVD with bonus features autographed by Nelson
: Personal telephone call from Nelson to thank supporters.
: Sports socks with Nelson Vails logo
: VIP tickets to the red carpet premiere in NYC and LA.
: Ride with Nelly on a group tour
: Jersey Kit designed by Nelson
: Custom made messenger tote bag designed by Nelson.
Whether you’re a weekend cycling enthusiast or a fan of Nelson’s story, all of these items are tokens for your generous support. Let’s go ride with Nelly!!
Scott Q. Nguyen - Producer
Mr. Scott Q.Nguyen is an award winning film producer. He studied film at the USC School of Cinematic Arts. He is the CEO of One World Media Group LLC, a film/media production company based in Orange County, California. The company's projects span from corporate branding/ad campaigns, commercials, to documentary and feature length narrative films. One of his main focuses is to enable emerging filmmakers to come together and produce commercially viable projects. Mr. Nguyen plans to spearhead mainstream film projects that has global appeal. CHEETAH marks his second cycling documentary preceding his crititically acclaimed film, CRUZIN' currently in worldwide distribution.
An acclaimed award winning filmmaker, Mr. Gauger graduated from California State University, Fullerton in theater arts and French literature. His first feature film, OWL AND THE SPARROW, premiered at the Rotterdam film festival and was the recipient of fifteen international awards, and is distributed in the U.S. by Image Entertainment. His second feature film, SAIGON ELECTRIC, the first hip hop film from Vietnam, premiered at the San Francisco International Asian American film festival and was the recipient of four international awards. His prior documentary, VIETNAM OVERTURES, about a music exchange program between the Norway and Vietnam symphony orchestras, premiered at the 2008 Hawaiian international film festival. Mr. Gauger is a Gotham award and Independent Spirit award nominee.