Note: In anticipation of this weekend’s New York City kick-off of the Bicycle Film Festival, we’re posting an article I wrote for the May/June ’12 issue of Momentum Magazine. A list of works to watch for by female filmmakers at this year’s festival appears at the conclusion.
Attention women artists and filmmakers with a passion for cycling, the Bicycle Film Festival wants you. Although the 2011 edition, which traveled to 27 cities in the U.S. and abroad, screened a record number of films directed by women, there’s plenty of room for more, says BFF founding director Brendt Barbur.
Barbur, who launched the festival in 2000 as a celebration of bicycling through film, art and music after a cycling accident, views women’s engagement in bicycle filmmaking within the context of growing interest in cycling in general.
“Women are the future,” he says. “If cycling is going to grow, then women are an important part of that.”
In the 2011 festival program of 70 films, 11 listed women as directors. Their contributions ranged from the short film Fabric Bike, by Laura Mensinga and Kirsten White of the all-girl bike gang and design cooperative Deadly Nightshades, to one of the festival’s spotlight features, Racing Towards Red Hook, an account of the 2011 Red Hook Criterium underground cycling race directed by Jessica Scott and Hyde Harper.
“The participation of women filmmakers lends a fresh perspective,” Barbur continues. “It all comes back around to the joy of cycling.”
Among the earliest female contributors of a major film was Nicole Mackinlay Hahn, whose Hardihood was screened at BFF 2002. Her work, about women’s professional downhill mountain bike racing, was groundbreaking not only in its focus on top female competitors in an overwhelmingly male sport, but also in its intimate portrait of the racers’ psychology and lifestyle – from balancing motherhood with sport to training and world travel.
Mackinlay Hahn, who is currently working on a documentary film about a bamboo bicycle factory in Ghana, Africa, advises aspiring bicycle filmmakers to follow their interests and also to embrace spontaneity. “Make sure you’ve always got your camera in your backpack, because there’s a story in every ride,” she says.
Films Directed by Women at BFF 2012
The Bicycle Film Festival kicks off with a June 28 – July 1 run at the Anthology Film Archives in New York City and will travel to more than 25 cities around the globe. View the program of shorts and features, plus trailers, and buy tickets here www.bicyclefilmfestival.com. Watch for these films by directed by women.
Program 1: Bike Stories
- Georgena Terry* (Dir. Amanda Zackem)
- Philippa and Nancy (Dir. Ciarra Barry, Claire McInnes and Nora Smith)
Program 4: Hit ‘Em in the Mouthhook
- Inspiring Ride with Ines Brunn (Dir. Berta Tilmantaite)
Program 6 – Urban Shorts
- Sister Session* (Dir. Helen Habakuk, Doris Taaker and Brett Astrid Vomma)
- Camper Bike: Kevin Cyr (Dir. Amelia Shaw)
Program 10: Fun Bike Shorts
- Courier Culture (Dir. Dakota Fine, Maria Helena Carey, Reyna Levine and Colby Waller)
- Less Car, More Go (Dir. Liz Canning)