‘No Legs. All Heart.’ documentary premieres in Annapolis, where the tale of redemption and perseverance concludes

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“No Legs. All Heart.,” a documentary about a double amputee who used a hand cycle to finish a 12-day bike race from California to Annapolis made its debut over the weekend at the 11th annual Annapolis Film Festival.


Almost in an attempt to re-create the drama of the film, its director, Pablo Durana and principal subject, André Kajlich, were racing against the clock Saturday, arriving shortly before the movie was shown to a full auditorium in Maryland Hall. Kajlich flew in from France and Durana arrived from a trip to Antarctica.

“It’s kind of serendipitous to have the world premiere of this film be here in Annapolis, said Durana, an Emmy Award-winning cinematographer making his directorial debut on the documentary. “Not only with the Race Across America ending here but I spent years in D.C. as I started my career. I still have friends here, so it’s amazing how life has come full circle.”


The film was one among 70 screened over the four-day festival from a broad array of filmmakers, including nine that showed at the Sundance Film Festival. “No Legs. All Heart.” topped them all by winning best documentary feature at the event.

Durana and Kajlich met years before Kajlich began the massive undertaking of competing in the Race Across America. They had a plan to work together on another project but it never came to fruition.

“We actually met eight years ago,” Durana said. “I stayed in touch with André over the years because he’s André, just a cool guy. So when he approached me to see if I wanted to document his journey I jumped at the opportunity.”

Because of Durana’s background as an endurance athlete, and with his extensive experience filming and operating in extreme conditions, he was uniquely suited to capture Kajlich’s story. Durana’s work has taken him to deep caves in Mexico and the icebergs of Antarctica.

While he loved the project, Durana admitted making the film consumed his life.

“When you’re directing, you eat and sleep the project. I found myself not being as present in my personal life in order to do this well. I invested a lot of time and money into this project. I may direct again but maybe if somebody wants to pay for it,” he said, laughing.

For Kajlich, the premiere was his first time back in Annapolis since finishing his epic journey, cycling more than 3,000 miles and sleeping for just over 20 hours during the 12-day race. When Kajlich completed the race he celebrated by flipping off City Dock and floating in the harbor.

His story showed the test of human will. In the movie, Kajlich’s battle with alcoholism almost killed him twice, with the second time leading to an accident that left him without legs. It wasn’t until another drinking incident forced his wife to begin questioning their marriage that he put the bottle down for good, deciding to go all in on endurance cycling.


Cycling offered Kajlich an escape and in the movie he expressed his love for the bike, “It let me feel fast again, like an athlete again for the first time,”

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He then dedicated himself to his cycling regimen, “giving up one addiction for another,” his wife said.

Even with his training, to even get the opportunity to compete in the Race Across America he had to complete a shorter preliminary test, completing 300 miles in 48 hours. It took four attempts over a three-year span to qualify.

Race Across America is known as one of the longest annual endurance events in the world, and one of the most difficult: Year after year 50% of able-bodied competitors don’t finish.

“I thought about quitting before I made the first checkpoint,” Kajlich admits. “It was the furthest I had ever ridden and the doubt of if I had enough started to creep in. In the movie, you see how important my team was they boosted me verbally and they pumped me with caffeine. After that first push, I knew I could make it.”

After the cross-country ride, it took him six months to gain feeling back in his fingertips, likening the injury to carpal tunnel syndrome, and he said it was a year before his body felt strong again.


Kajlich’s journey has helped him carve out his own path as an endurance cyclist, recently having a children’s book titled “Andre’s Wild Ride” written by Jackson Mauzé about his life and he’s now a role model for other disabled athletes around the world as he continues to push the limits of his potential.

“I’m not disabled,” he said defiantly in the movie. “We are disabled in things we can’t do … but there is no shortage of things that any of us can do.”