The Bicycle Film Festival rolls into Nanaimo at the start of October, bringing with it an array of films that explore different aspects of cycling culture.
The festival, a first for the city, kicks off the Fall Go By Bike Weeks initiative, and will be held Saturday, Oct. 1, at the Malaspina Theatre from 6:30-9 p.m.
Brendt Barbur, the festival’s founding director, said he hopes the region-specific curated lineup will appeal to the community with ‘approachable’ films meant for a wide audience.
“I like to think about it as an art and cultural event promoting cycling,” he said. “I think that most people will be touched by the human stories we have.”
The lineup, which Barbur said was selected for the region out of hundreds of international submissions, features several films from a British Columbian’s perspective.
One such film, Through the East Kootenays follows the journey of cyclists Ralph Samson and Alex Cormier as they explore the eastern portion of the B.C. Trail Bikepacking Route, starting and ending in Fernie.
Another film, On Falling, written and directed by Vancouver’s Josephine Anderson, tells the story of three women as they reflect on their willingness to sustain broken bones, concussions and organ damage as professional mountain bikers. It was also shown at the DOXA Documentary Film Festival in 2020 and last year at the Vancouver International Women in Film Festival where it won two awards.
Also showing is a film about a lesbian couple who bring a town together around mountain biking and pizza; a film about “fat cyclists” on a mission to change the idea that people with larger bodies can’t ride bikes; and a film about a Ghanaian immigrant in Amsterdam who teaches refugee adult women how to ride bikes.
The independent film festival first started approximately 22 years ago, when Barbur was struck by a bus while riding his bike through New York City.
From that negative experience, he said he wanted to do something positive and share with people how “wonderful cycling is in all its different forms.”
“I wanted to place seeds in people’s minds that cycling was something for everybody. And it can do so many good things for our communities and the world at large.”
Barbur said a larger, week-long version of the festival has included art exhibitions, concerts, live scores to film and video art, and has exhibited on a global scale in more than 100 cities with attendance of up to 20,000 in large cities.
Before the official start of the Nanaimo festival on Oct. 1, information about electric vehicles, e-bike trails and sustainable initiatives in the city will held as a pre-event at 4:30 p.m.
Ticket information for the Bicycle Film Festival can be obtained online through www.eventbrite.ca.