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Bikes on Film - Bicycle Film Festival 2007

By Jeff Guerrero

The Bicycle Film Festival is among the greatest bike culture events the world has ever known. And now the traveling festival brings cycling culture to 16 cities worldwide. For the seventh year the festival kicked off in New York City, drawing over 11,000 people to the Film Anthology Archive building in Manhattan’s Lower East Side.

In addition to cyclists of all kinds, the festival drew people from around the globe, including England, Amsterdam, Japan, Columbia, China, Canada and even Russia.

For those uninitiated, the festival primarily consists of short cycling-related films, and the audience is encouraged to be themselves. During the much-lauded bike messenger segment, the crowd is known to go wild, hooting at the screen and clinking bottles of suds with their neighbors. And for the more astute presentations, the film buffs are given the opportunity to interact with the attending filmmakers after the presentation.

One of the biggest crowd pleasers was Joy Ride, an art exhibit curated by festival founder Brendt Barbur. With a great crowd of people, inspired artwork and wall of free PBR, the opening was arguably the party of the year.

Among the festival highlights were Monkey Warfare, an independent film with a plot that revolves around smoking pot, riding bikes, collecting garbage and… Well, I don’t want to spoil it for you. Another must-see film is Ayamye*, directed by Eric Matthies and Tricia Todd. The film documents the distribution of bicycles in rural Ghana, and the subsequent positive outcome. The film’s brilliance lies in the subtle humor conveyed amidst the unpleasant reality of the villagers’ situation, making it entertaining as well as inspirational.

If time or money only allows you to attend one program, however, the one to see is definitely the Messenger Shorts. The fast-paced, short