Reels and (two) wheels

Hold on to your seats: Two great bicycle-oriented film fests breeze through

What's a "bike movie?" If you immediately thought of Breaking Away (1979), two upcoming events suggest that your definition is li'l old-fashioned. First up: the Disposable Film Festival is hosting a "Bike-In" outdoor screening. Pedal over and enjoy a selection of films (with an emphasis on bike themes) culled from DFFs past; an after-party celebrates the release of the Guardian's Bike to Work issue.

San Franciscans Eric Slatkin and Carlton Evans founded the fest in 2007 to highlight so-called disposable films — "any film made on these alternative devices we've seen cropping up in the past few years: cell phones, web cams, point-and-shoot cameras, one-time use video cameras, pocket cams," Slatkin said. "They really democratize the idea of not just filmmaking, but of a filmmaker."

The spirit of the festival lends itself to a bike-in screening. "The core of the DFF is a real DIY aesthetic," Evans said. "I think there's a similar kind of aesthetic in the biking community in San Francisco. I bike all over the city, and I'm always navigating the city in a way where I'm having to overcome obstacles. You just sort of take on these challenges and come up with your own solutions."

Brendt Barbur, director of the New York City-based Bicycle Film Festival (now in its ninth year, it travels to San Francisco this summer), would likely agree with this comparison. The BFF showcases experimental films, music videos, documentaries, and more, with tie-in art exhibits and live music shows, but it's powered by the creative energy of everyday cyclists.

"Technology has given the bike movement a tool to express themselves," he said from BFF headquarters in NYC. "That DIY spirit runs through the festival. A lot of people — maybe they're graphic designers or bike messengers — have something to say, and cameras are now accessible to a lot of folks. Those little gems they produce are, a lot of times, the most popular movies at the festival."


Wed/13, 8 p.m., free

Outside the Good Hotel, 112 Seventh St., SF


July 14-19

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