Filmmaker Spotlight: Alastair Humphreys

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Alastair Humphreys was once named a National Geographic Adventurer of the Year, and is a sought after inspirational speaker and a best-selling author. His expeditions are a call to arms: “Nothing,” he proclaims, “is achieved without someone being bold enough to begin it and taking that first step” – which needs only be a tiny one to “set us on the way to realizing that we are all capable of more than we imagine.”

Alastair has spent years tackling adventures that are what he calls “simple but not easy, and values the crucial difference between those two words.”

A few years ago, Alastair transitioned from photographing his trips to filming them: “I did this to try to reach a bigger, newer online audience,” he explains. It was a “pragmatic choice, but now I love filming.”

Alastair credits the invention of the DSLR with inspiring his foray into filmmaking. A digital single-lens reflex camera (also called a digital SLR or DSLR) combines the optics and the mechanisms of a single-lens reflex camera with a digital imaging sensor, instead of photographic film. Better ones also include high definition video. The possibilities of the DSLR amazed him, but then when YouTube came along he was suddenly motivated to “jump in and learn how to film.”

In addition to a prolific catalog of films on adventure travel, the life-long adventurer is also the author of Microadventures: Local Discoveries for Great Escapes, and the forthcoming Grand Adventures.

How does Alastair keep it fresh from one film to the next? “I just go out and film something that really excites me,” he explains. Alastair doesn’t really think about how many other people will watch his films, and he doesn’t care. “I just do something that means a lot to me.”

It turns out that authenticity appeals to a lot of people. 

Alastair says he had no script when he began filming his Film by Bike submission, “Mountain Bikes and Bothy Nights.” He just filmed everything and then came home and crafted it into a story.

Alastair says that for him the films evolve through the creative process and sometimes most dramatically when he is editing. “It’s often really hard to reconcile the difference between what I desire and what I achieved. I just stuck all the shots together in an order that looked pretty, wrote a script, recorded it just once, and that was it. It all just worked—for once!”



Alastair’s film “Mountain Bikes and Bothy Nights” plays in the Adventure Night program, Saturday May 7 at 8:00pm.
[ info + tickets ]

Filmmaker Spotlight: Manny Marquez

IngerUcker: Beyond Fingerdome Manny Marquez | Hood River, OR

IngerUcker: Beyond Fingerdome Manny Marquez | Hood River, OR

Manny Marquez says he got into cycling through film – not a typical route for most people. In 2009, About Face Media sent Manny to France for The Tour De France. His job was to create a film a day for Trek Bicycles. During his time at the Tour, Manny made 22 films base on Team Astana and the love of cycling throughout France. “I was going to all of these places that are famous,” Manny explain. “Now I watch cycling religiously and I know these places, but I didn’t then.”

When Manny returned home to Hood River, Oregon his experience in France not only inspired him to begin cycling but also gave him some serious street cred with the local cyclists. At the time, Manny weighed more than 300 pounds. Over the next five years, Manny lost 130 pounds through cycling. During that time he built a community around the Dirty Fingers bike shop.

Each year Dirty Fingers shop owner Mitchell Buck and his crew host IngerUcker, an outrageous mountain bike ride. Manny decided to make a film documenting the work that goes into building the event and the all the shenanigans that result. The result is “IngerUcker: Beyond Fingerdome,” a rugged, irreverent and hilarious glimpse into this beloved ride.

Manny is still researching what his next large project will be, but like all of his pieces he says “I want the film to be loaded with so much content, that it is so rich, you don’t have to see it to feel it.”


IngerUcker: Beyond Fingerdome plays in the World’s Best Bike Movies Program (B) – Friday at 9pm at the 2015 festival.

Filmmaker Spotlight: Chris Bruntlett

Companionship-dog-front

Chris Bruntlett hails from Vancouver, B.C. and is incredibly passionate about biking. He believes biking should be for everyone.

When he first moved to Vancouver, B.C.  Chris found the bike scene to be intimidating for the everyday cyclist. Most of the other cyclists on the road were clad in branded jerseys and spandex while Chris was in his blazer and jeans. He was just a casual commuter with the idea that everyone can and should feel welcome to bike in their beautiful city. He had a goal to make cycling, as he puts it, “normal and accessible.”

Chris is an architect by day but found himself inspired by the Copenhagen-based Cycle Chic Photo Blog (now a global movement). With no budget or film experience Chris set out to bring Cycle Chic to Vancouver. He found friends and friends of friends who were a living testament to the Cycle Chic Manifesto (style over speed; grace, dignity, elegance; all while riding for transportation) and created six beautiful films about those individuals and their everyday lives.

Although Vancouver Cycle Chic is a side project for Chris, the films have brought him some fame as he is headed off to Arlington, VA to create six new original films for Bike Arlington.

In 2014, two of these profile films played in Filmed by Bike, and Chris came to Portland with his family to explore and be a part of the festival. Two of Chris’s fresh releases will show at the 13th Annual Filmed by Bike.

“Companionship” Plays in the World’s Best Bike Movies Program (A) – Friday at 7pm
“Observing the Elements” Plays in the VIP programs – Sunday at 5pm and 7pm (reserved for VIP Pass holders)

FILMMAKER SPOTLIGHT: ANDY CHANDLER

Andy Chandler, mastermind behind the hilarious Sandy Blvd Trailer, started making comedy shorts in high school and polished his technical skills working for Portland’s KGW Channel 8 News for the last six years. This skilled filmmaker can bang out a highly produced film on his computer with limited resources.

“You can make something pretty good-looking for free nowadays,” Andy explains.

Andy is becoming something of a master at movie trailer parodies – lampooning the overwrought sounds and suspense of modern action-thrillers. Sandy Blvd is Andy’s crown jewel. Local comedian Sam Dinkowitz (also the film’s star) hatched the idea to make a fake movie trailer about the “infamously horrible” Portland street, and asked Andy to help. They produced the film using some of Andy’s friends as actors, and the result is pure Portland in-joke cinematic brilliance.

Check out Andy’s other films on his Youtube page: http://www.youtube.com/user/andygeek44

MEET ANDY

Andy will be on stage as a part of our Filmmaker Q+A Sessions following the screening of his movie at the Sunday 7pm show. READ MORE >>


“Sandy Blvd. Trailer” plays during the Bicycle Dreams program.
SHOWTIMES: Sunday 7PM (plus Filmmaker Q+A), Tuesday 7PM (Plus Golden Helmet Award presentation)

Filmmaker Spotlight: Stephen Blanquie

Raised in the suburban town of Beaverton, Oregon, Stephan Blanquie escaped over the hills to SE Portland where he gets around on skateboards and a ten-speed – filming bands, skateboarding, fixed-gear freestyling and the great majesty of the Pacific Northwest.

All of Stephen’s work is tinted by a washed-out, psychedelic-Americana vibe thanks to his extensive use of Super 8 film. He was given a Super 8 camera three years ago, and has since become a devotee, transfixed by the aesthetics, and enamored with the process of putting images on the physical object of film.

“I like the idea of capturing the current times on an older format,” Stephen said.

Stephen’s submission to Filmed by Bike is “Devin Tolman: End of Summer”, a fixed-gear freestyle film. The piece was shot using a variety of cameras and mostly filmed from a cruiser board. “I think it looks a lot better to film on skateboard than on bike,” he said.

Stephen became a cyclist as soon as he moved to Portland, lugging around 40lb of equipment to skate spots to get footage of his friends. “I’m not much for the fixed gear myself,” Blanquie said, “but i know how to work a ten-speed.”


“Devin Tolman: End of Summer” plays during the Triumph Program of Shorts.
SHOWTIMES: Saturday 5PM, Sunday 5PM (+ Filmmaker Q+A, + GoIndependent! Award presentation), Tuesday 9PM

Filmmaker Spotlight: Guillaume Blanchet

Guillaume Blanchet left France ten years ago to settle in Montreal, leaving behind friends and volumes of tender memories. So it was decided that every year they would meet at some destination in the world. Blanchet was in charge of filming which grew his passion for filmmaking. Some scenes from trips were not traditionally filmed so in order to round out story lines Guillaume would use creative film techniques like stop motion and play mobile to recreate events not typically caught on camera. The projects led to more projects until Blanchet had forty films and a cache of festivals under his belt, including winning awards in Bike Reel Film Fest, NDG Off The Wall, Boston Bike Film Festival and the Francophone Film Fest.

Blanchet’s current submission to Filmed By Bike was inspired by his father who traveled almost consistently with and by his bike, “He called me once from Romania and told me about his trip…I said dad you really do live on your bike. Hence the title.”  In The Man Who Lived On His Bicycle we see a man literally cook, sleep and bath via bike. When asked if there is any thing else he would like to do in film, Blanchet replies, “Shoot a project with Lionel Messi.” To view a couple of Guillaume Blanchet’s films visit:

Laïka/ https://vimeo.com/4949624
Snowmotion/ https://vimeo.com/5345412

Filmaker Spotlight: Kara Minnehan

Kara Minnehan is a synergetic personality on a mission to inspire human connection and community using a tool growing in popularity: the bicycle.

Kara’s organization Bike-Love.org hosts a variety of events, everything from fashion shows and art exhibitions to comedy and social experiments. But the hub connecting each project is firmly rooted in feminism, and Kara’s personal history.

In an effort to reach “bike-curious” women and empower them to discover the freedom of bike riding, Kara is embarking on a documentary journey. The film explores her transition from a motorist to a cyclist. Kara has come a long way since last December. In less than a year, she sold her car, explored bike-commuting firsthand, and put in motion the Bike Love project that has engaged more than three hundred local supporters.
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FILMMAKER SPOTLIGHT: BRIAN MATHE

Brian MatheBrian Mathe, Morgan Monchaud, Vera Siphay and Bertrand Dolci have always been adventurous.  The French travel enthusiasts have long been into activities like snowboarding, surfing and windsurfing but it was a wild idea by Morgan that put the wheels of a grand journey into motion: travel around the world… by bike!  Luckily for us, they filmed it, too.

Traveling around the world is no easy task.  To help make it happen, the team formed an organization called Solidream. They worked for two years cultivating partnerships with corporations, local businesses and private donors to fund the trip and garner the support they need to sustain and document their travels.  Through their website, the travel team shares articles, pictures and video with sponsors and fans around the world which has also kept donations coming in.
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FILMMAKER SPOTLIGHT: Professor Dave Shapiro

Professor Dave Shapiro is a longtime contributor to Filmed by Bike, and returns once again this year with his film “The Boy Who Cried ‘Mechanical’.” This stop-motion photography-animated short continues Dave’s series of Aesop Fables with bikes as the main stars. Dave brainstorms ideas for his movies while biking to work – an hour and a half each way. “I have lots of time to make stuff up,” he says. “I got to the point where the script was pared down to the minimum; then I wrote it out, and shot the film.” The subject matter is fitting; Professor Dave, as he’s known by friends and students, is a philosophy instructor, hence the draw to re-telling Aesop’s Fables.

Professor Dave spends about one day shooting his films with his daughter and her friend as assistants. He says it generally takes him about three days to edit and finalize the pieces. Dave plans to make more bike-themed films, “I have a few more Aesop’s fables I’d like to try; then, at some point, I want to do an animated version of Plato’s ‘Allegory of the Cave’ using bikes as the main characters.”

Professor Dave and his daughter will be on stage after the Saturday 5pm screening as a part of our Filmmaker Q+A series.

The Boy Who Cried “Mechanical” plays in the Friday Program and the Need for Speed” Program of shorts B.

FILMMAKER SPOTLIGHT: Ilima Considine

Crash is a charming comedy short in which two friends get into bike accidents amid lusty desires. The piece is produced by filmmaker and Sexbot band leader Ilima Considine. Ilima says her storytelling background stems from making music videos for her band and drawing comic books as a kid. She says she got the idea for Crash after learning of a mutual lust, “‘Oh yeah, those greasy fingers.’ This comment, from a straight Mormon, made me realize that I’m not the only one with a thing for bike mechanics.”

Crash has a bold set of actors (including Ilima herself) that would normally be hard to come by, but to cast the film she simply wrote a bulletin on Facebook titled “Who is willing to ride their bike straight into a tree for me?” and drafted anyone interested. The cast and crew toughed out the hurdles they encountered while filming, including Portland’s nasty weather. Although the story is set in the summer, it was shot in 30 degree weather. “In one scene, you can actually see my lips turning blue,” Ilima explains. Ilima worked to find interesting indoor locations on a budget, including some that had to be shot quickly, before the crew could be thrown out.

In the future Ilima is releasing another music video for The Sexbots, “It’s basically a 3-minute action film where I am kidnapped, tortured by dominatrices, and end up shooting my kidnapper in the head. It’s going to be awesome.” You can check out her band’s work on their website.

Crash premiers in the Bike Love: Program of Shorts C.

Filmmaker Spotlight: Chad Berkley

We love to hear the backstory for submissions to our festival, and to showcase a little behind the scenes action. We’ve been interviewing filmmakers about the process they took when making a film for the Filmed by Bike festival. Chad Berkley is one of these submitters, and this week we stopped by his editing suite to talk to him about his film Remember Your First Bike, which profiles the Community Cycling Center’s, Holiday Bike Drive, an annual bicycle giveaway program.

Filmmaker Spotlight: Mike Vogel

Oh the Places You Will Go to Film by Bike

(A poetic interpretation of one man’s adventures in filming and biking: about filmmaker Mike Vogel)


Meet Mike

     Who likes to film by bike.

But we ask would he dare

     Film by bike anywhere?


Would he film on a crane?

     Could he film in the rain?


I would film on a crane

     I would film in the rain.

I would film here or there,

     I would film anywhere.


Would he film in a pick-up truck,

     All the way to Lady Luck?

Where he and his crew,

     Could get a shot of my tattoo?


Yes in a truck, to Lady Luck

I would go, to prove it so.

That I would film here or there,

     I would film anywhere.


I bet he wouldn’t on Hawthorne Bridge,

     It’s vertically filming on a ridge.


Shy away from the bridge, I would not

     If it meant getting the perfect shot.

I would film here or there,

     I would film anywhere.


He wouldn’t, he couldn’t if it were against the law.


I would and could if I thought no one saw.

I would film here or there,

     I would film anywhere.


I guess it’s true, I guess it’s so

     There is not a place Mike wouldn’t go.

So the question remains, the places you will go

     In order to be in the Filmed By Bike Show.

FILMMAKER PROFILE: Carlos Maya

Drawing inspiration from drawings is not just a process exclusive to big guns such as Marvel and DC Comics, but something animator Carlos Maya has perfected for Filmed by Bike in his shorts like “Big Wheel Bounce”, a 30-second complex animated piece that showed in our 2009 festival.

I would never describe my Saturday morning cartoons as a very thoughtful effort, except perhaps to decide which sugar cereal goes best with reruns of Captain Planet. For Carlos, though, this is when the thinking cap comes on. An animator by trade, Carlos’ ten years of experience have helped prepare him to be a front runner for past Filmed by Bike festivals. His inspiration from cartoons is the fuel behind his passion. Drawing from the archives of classic School House Rock, Carlos sets forth to bring out originality, personality and something completely new through his work.

Carlos offers up this advice for all of you aspiring filmmakers: “Do what you love, even if it does not make sense.” Maybe for Carlos doing what you love means cartoons and making people laugh, but for you it could mean something different. Find out what it is that you love and start filming. We can’t wait to see.

The deadline for Filmed by Bike submissions 1/20/2011 and you can learn more at our Best of the Worst (What not to do) event on November 6th. Details here >>

Call for Film Editors!

Filmed by Bike is looking for a video editor for our 2010 festival program!

Our needs:

  • 4 distinct DVD programs, each containing a different combination of:
    • Roughly 30 winning short film entries (Under 8 minutes each, submitted on DVD or MiniDV)
    • Advertisement slideshows (submitted as .mov files)
    • Raffle slideshows (submitted as .mov files)
    • Some content will be repeated on multiple DVD programs
  • Normalized sound across the length of the programs
  • Final aspect ratio of 16:9 (from submissions of various aspect ratios)

Our timeline:

  • We would like to select a program editor by February 26th — Please get back to us ASAP
  • Content should be ready for editing by March 1st
  • Programs need to be completed by March 25th

We are putting this out to bid.

We are willing to provide other incentives such as:

  • Free entry to the festival April 16-18, 2010
  • On-screen advertising

Please contact Owen with questions and estimates:
Owen@FilmedByBike.org, (646) 465 2735