The sights. The sounds. The smells. Oh my! The Bicycle Film Festival, held Friday through Sunday, was an exciting outdoor event.
Seeing tons of bicyclists flocking to Fremont Park for opening night was surreal. Hearing cyclists talk about their vintage bikes relayed the camaraderie they felt. And the smell of gourmet pizza was tempting as it wafted through the air. All ages strolled, many with gelato in hand, toward Fremont Park to get a seat before the show started.
The Bicycle Film Fest has been held overseas and across the nation. The event celebrates all things bicycle through film, art and music. The restaurant Hot Italian hosted the event’s primary indoor site.
Brendt Barbur, festival founder, opened the event, telling the audience that Andrea Lepore, owner of Hot Italian, was the reason Sacramento was added as a festival site.
“We’re now in 40 cities and we’re holding our 10th anniversary in New York,” he said.
Then it was time for the show to go on. “This screening is a series of urban bike shorts that are all made by cyclists,” Barbur said.
The screening featured 16 film shorts from directors in the United Kingdom, Italy, Japan, Spain, Canada and the United States. The films were inspirational, informative and entertaining for cycling enthusiasts and noncyclists alike.
The shorts included:
“On Time,” directed by Ari Taub. It had a well-developed plot and pleased the audience, judging by the applause it received. It was about a bicycle messenger who experiences the dangers of riding. The character has to deliver a package by a set time and must accomplish the task despite many obstacles. If he does not succeed, there will be "explosive" consequences.
In “An Apology,” the Niestat Brothers were invited to do an expose on television show "Good Day, New York" about how easy it is to steal a bike. However, they decided to pull a practical joke. Viewers laughed at the directing duo’s untimely, yet humorous prank.
“Polo Manual” was about playing polo on bicycles. The film explained the rules, method and etiquette of the game. Director Brendan McNamee filmed many collisions and injuries. There were falls that made viewers cringe, but the short also elicited a few chuckles from the audience.
The dramatic musical video “What’s A Girl To Do,” directed by Dougal Wilson, received an enthusiastic response. In the one-of-a-kind short, ominous masked cyclists executed choreographed movements.
“Ski Boys,” directed by Benny Zenga, was an insightful look at the ingenuity of a few young men in rural Ontario. The film was dedicated to creating inventive and daring ways to put all items on wheels.
The audience cheered through “Macramento” by Colby Elrick. The Sacramento premiere featured Northern California cyclists John Cardiel, Squirrel and Ted Shred. The film highlighted much of downtown Sacramento’s landscape on a "ride-along" tour, with the cyclists performing incredible tricks.
Some people at the film festival said it rekindled their desire to ride a bicycle. For others, the films brought back memories.
“I saw ‘Breaking Away’ — a famous bicycling film from the ’70s — while I was in college,” said Roger Jones, who lives in downtown Sacramento. “I read about this event in The Sac Bee and since I live in walking distance, I had to come.”