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Bill Clinton Attends Premiere of 'The Way,' Cheers Film and Related Foundation (Video)

The former president said, "I thank the people who made this beautiful movie."

On Wednesday evening, THR was one of only a few media outlets in attendance for a very special New York premiere of Emilio Estevez's The Way, which opens in theaters today. Held as a fundraiser for the Walkabout Foundation, a non-profit organization that provides wheelchairs to paralyzed people around the world who cannot afford them, the event was attended by former U.S. president Bill Clinton, a friend of the foundation's founders. After the lights came up, Clinton gave a seven-minute speech in which he cheered both the film and the foundation (see above video).

The former president, who was accompanied to the event by daughter Chelsea Clinton, said: "Let me begin by thanking Emilio Estevez, the producer David Alexanian, and my friend Martin Sheen -- who, when I left the White House, became my president, 'cause he was still on The West Wing... I thank the people who made this beautiful movie... I want you to know you did a good thing tonight... Thank you again Martin. Thank you Emilio for making this movie."

VIDEO: Martin Sheen Stars in Emilio Estevez-directed 'The Way' Trailer

The Way first screened at the 2010 Toronto International Film Festival (where I caught it). It stars Sheen (Estevez's father) as a tightly-wound doctor who decides to try to complete the epic "pilgrimmage" across the Camino de Santiago -- a walk of 485 miles across Spain along "The Way of St. James" -- that his free-spirited adult son (played, appropriately enough, by Estevez) was attempting to complete when he got caught in a storm and died.

The film is surprisingly moving (thanks to a tour de force performance by 71-year-old Sheen, who inherently engenders more goodwill than just about any actor I can think of) and funny (thanks, above all, to a great supporting performance by Dutchman Yorick van Wageningen), and you will be hardpressed to find a better story about a father and son, friendship, and faith this year.