Our friend Andrew McClintock (part owner of the Ever Gold Gallery in the TL) asked Bicycle Film Festival founder Brendt Barbur a few questions.
The Bicycle Film Festival was born in the streets of New York. In 2000, I was struck by a bus while riding my bike in the city and hurt pretty badly. But I didn't want this to discourage me or anyone I knew from being a biker and instead, wanted something positive to come from this experience. I wanted to empower bikers and let them know it's safe and fun to ride your bike in the city. So I took my interest in cycling and combined that with my love for the film, art, and the theater and produced the first Bicycle Film Festival in 2001 in New York City. What started as one festival in one city, has now grown to stop in 39 cities in its 9th year. We started coming to San Francisco in 2004. I had lived in SF a lot of my life, and with it's rich cycling culture and deep roots, it was a natural choice to bring it there.
It's become a much bigger festival. My friends and I produced it the first year. We were in NY for the first 3 years, and then expanded to San Francisco. We finally brought it to LA, London, and Tokyo in 2005. After some time, I realized I needed to get more people involved. Now the BFF is largely run by a dedicated team of volunteers who work nonstop to make the festival great. In some of the larger cities the festival now spans 5 days of fun! This year, we're trying to include bike polo and Goldsprints as much as we can. We are grateful to have 42BELOW on board to help us in this expansion, bringing the festival to cities we couldn't go to otherwise. The quality of the films has gotten so much better over the years as well. People are really getting into making films for the Bicycle Film Festival, the production quality and care going into each film has grown so much, it's getting hard to choose!
There's always going to be something new, something that the mainstream doesn't really ever understand. Skateboarding and surfing laid the groundwork back in the day, they went against the norm and had their own way of living. The mainstream way of living never really changes, but when it comes to surfing, skating, biking...there's always something different. Something that is probably going to piss people off because they wish they were out there doing it. It's all really about expressing yourself and surfers, skaters, bikers, artists - all forms that allow people to make it their own - are just better at it than others. And the style in which these kids skate, surf and bike is an expression. They're saying, don't lock me up inside all day...get me out there and let me do my thing. It's amazing and inspiring. One of the films in the festival this year is about how the industry is changing to support the urban bike movement, "Anima D'Acciaio." Check it out during the Urban Bike Shorts Program. But that's another thing, eventually the industry catches up and something else comes along to challenge everyone's thought process again. In biking it was BMX--check out FBM, urban riding, tricks on track bikes, even mountain bikes had their day.
The art show has been an integral part of the festival since the beginning. So many bikers out there are also artists, and so are many of the filmmakersand volunteers who are a part of the festival. We thought this would be a great way to bring together these people who make art about their love for the bicycle. So many of the great artists out there are bikers. Joyride really emphasizes our message that bikers are the most powerful people in the world.It's amazing that we can hang work from all of these artists of different backgrounds next to one another. Nowhere else, besides the Joyride art show can you find artists including Kenny Scharf, Jonas Mekas, Agathe Snow, and Cheryl Dunn displayed next to work from longtime bike messengers Fast EddieWilliams, Alfred Bobe, and reigning Monster Track winner Chris Thormann. It's exciting that we get to make that happen.
In the past we've had amazing artists including Steve MacDonald, Phil Frost, Shepard Fairey, Tom Sachs, Michel Gondry, and Swoon. The show has traveled all over the world. It's been in Tokyo, London, Milano, New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Paris. We're headed to Miami for the first time in December during Art Basel. We're so excited to have the show go there during such an important time in the art world.
For the first time, we experimented with housing the art show in multiple venues in New York. We wanted to encourage the visitors to ride their bikes from gallery to gallery and really experience this amazing connection between bikes, art, and creativity. We have also collaborated with Anonymous Gallery this year. Another exciting development is that we are working with the MCA in Chicago and the MCA in Denver. Museums and other art institutions around the world have shown immense interest in hosting the art show and collaborating with us. It is amazing.
I LOVE MY BICYCLE: THE STORY OF FBM BIKES
This is a must see film for anyone into bikes or starting their own busin
ANIMA D'ACCIAIO (SOUL OF STEEL)
Beautifully directed by Daniel Leeb about the legendary Italian frame builder Giovanni Pelizzoli aka Ciocc. It is amazing to see the passion for bikes that comes through Pelizzoli in this film.
DOWN BY THE WEEP HOLE:
THE STORY OF THE STUPOR BOWL
Minneapolis is one of the greatest bike cities in the country and they also have one of the greatest races.
WHERE ARE YOU GO
Made by BFF Family, Brian Vernor, Benny Zenga, and Christian Zenga. It is about their ride from Cairo to Capetown.
The members of Blonde Redhead have been long time friends of the festival and so it means a lot that they would play this show for us. In 2005, right in the middle of the tour for Misery Is a Butterfly, they played our Bikes Rock! opening event at a small bar on the Lower East Side in New York. The place was packed and it was amazing that after all these years, we're going to do it again. Blonde Redhead is like home to the festival, they're part of the family, and all of our staff, volunteers and friends are our family so this is really special. Blonde Redhead really got into it this year. Kazu and Simone, from the band, each hand drew their own designs for t-shirts for the San Francisco show. They are amazing!
San Francisco is going to be awesome. We have Blonde Redhead playing at the Independent on Tuesday and Wednesday night. Joyride opens on Thursday and the films begin Friday. Saturday we've also got our annual block party hosted by First Rule BMX. On Sunday, we move the whole thing to the East Bay - Oakland! There we're going to be playing Bike Polo and showing films at a theater nearby. We've also got afterparties each night following the BFF events, and don't forget Goldsprints! Please make sure to check the website, www.bicyclefilmfestival.com, for a complete list of event locations, to buy tickets, or to buy a festival pass. I am very honored to do an interview for Fecal Face because it is run by one of the most amazing people in San Francisco, John Trippe.
For more info on the Bicycle Film Festival and all that's going down this week, check: www.bicyclefilmfestival.com and ride safe out there, kids.
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