Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Bike Film Fest III

This weekend marked the third annual visit paid to Minneapolis by the Bike Film Festival. The festival has progressed since its first year when festival organizer Brendt Barbur thought he was in Milwaukee. This time around Barbur praised Minneapolis’ bike scene and lauded our very own Araby Williams for a documentary on the Black Label Bicycle Club.

While the films were a hit, the venues were hit and miss. The Riverview Theater, which housed both programs on Thursday night, remains one of the best in the Twin Cities. However, due to McPhail Center for Music’s disappointing patchwork screen and the Jeune Lune Theater’s closure, the BFF may be looking for new venues for next year. But where will they find an interesting space with a flexible summer schedule? Hmm.

Most of the films at this year’s festival were made in the past two years or so, with only two older films included in the line up. Bicycle Ladies, 1990, a 15 minute animated film was shown on Saturday afternoon and the 1979 classic Breaking Away officially got the festival going on Thursday night.

Music played an interesting role in the festival, beyond being a background for the films. Three of the films shown were in fact music videos, and the true festival kickoff was a concert held at the 7th street entry. While the concert on the whole was a bit awkward, a few elements held everything together. MAW brought music and projectors on their Xtracycles and set up outside to project images on the downtown buildings. And despite the mostly unimpressive music, local rap icon ICE ROD a.k.a. Michael Gaughan, gave a typically charismatic performance. There are very few people who can remain charming while rapping about squeazing zits and women’s reproductive systems, but Gaughan is certainly one of them.

Like many of the other festivals that stop in our fine city, BFF was enjoyable because it brought people together who share a love for the same things, namely Minneapolis, bicycles, the arts, and pretty people (I mean, that many beautiful people don’t just accidentally hangout together, right?).

Watch for next year’s festival, which, if Barbur gets his way will include more submissions from Minneapolis filmmakers. I wouldn’t hold your breath though, because as one audience member informed him “We’re all too busy riding our bikes."