By Alona Lerman
[singlepic id=206 w=400 h=300 mode=web20 float=left]As more and more people ride bikes daily, bicycling has become more than just a means of transportation; it’s a lifestyle. The traveling Bicycle Film Festival (BFF) epitomizes this cultural phenomenon by celebrating all bicycles through film, art, and music.
Back in Memphis for its second year May 21–22nd, the Festival aims to raise and reinforce the positive profile of cyclists and celebrate bicycling in its myriad forms. This year’s festivities include film screenings at the Brooks Museum, a Bikes Rock! show at the Hi-Tone, a block party at First Congregational Church, and Roller Races at the Young Avenue Deli.
Bicycles play different roles in each of the films selected this year, but they always take center stage. Enjoying its Memphis premiere is the feature-length documentary “Where Are You Go,” which chronicles a four-month expedition with the Tour d’Afrique, an epic bicycle race across the African continent from Cairo to Cape Town. The physically daunting trip sets the stage for sharing the universal love of the bicycle with Africa’s roadside mechanics, sporting racers, and innumerable curious strangers. It’s not to be missed!
From its roots in New York City, the BFF has grown exponentially into a multi-faceted, international event that visits nearly every continent and has become a major catalyst for the spread of urban bike culture internationally. In 2001, the Festival’s founder and director, Brendt Barbur, was compelled to respond positively after being hit by a bus while riding his bike in New York City. Instead of being deterred by the experience—with the characteristic New Yorkers’ tenacity—it inspired him to create a festival that celebrates the bicycle through music, art, and film.[singlepic id=236 w=320 h=240 float=right]
Now in its tenth year, the Festival is held in nearly 40 cities worldwide. It has featured work from internationally respected artists, including Tom Sachs, Shephard Fairey, Swoon, Geoff McFetridge, Michel Gondry, and Kenny Scharf, and performances by Blonde Redhead, Dan Deacon, Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, and Matt and Kim, as well as many others.
Last year, cyclists from all over the South descended upon Memphis for the BFF, representing Nashville, Huntsville, Little Rock, Baton Rouge, and New Orleans. The Festival organizers anticipate an even larger turnout this year.
About the Bicycle Film Festival
The BFF brings together many creative communities, including fashion, music, and art, as well as various bicycling communities, including road racing, mountain biking, fixed gear, BMX, and bike polo—all over a shared passion for bike riding.
Brendt Barbur Says
According to Barbur, “The energy of the Festival is contagious. The BFF is a big family whose members are filmmakers, artists, musicians, and designers, making innovative and creative things happen for their own community. People love being a part of something that reaches beyond what they are doing in their own community. Through their participation in the Festival, they are able to contribute to the bicycle culture on an international level.” Barbur says, “Bikers are some of the most creative people in the world. You can always count on the bikers to make things happen.”