Filmmaker Spotlight: Nix Brothers

Evan and Adam Nix, known as The Nix Brothers, are filmmakers and bicycle enthusiasts based in Denver, Colorado. Along with songwriter/actor, Randy Washington, they created one of the most popular videos of our 2011 festival, All You Haters (Suck My Balls).

Assisted by Auto-Tune and often dancing in front of intentionally shoddy, green-screen-assisted backgrounds, the video’s star, played by Washington, musically explains the trials of being a hated-on hipster cyclist. “The general position the song takes is supposed to both embrace and be self-deprecating about the whole hipster ideology. If you’re sensitive about being called a hipster … that makes you too concerned with image and therefore a hipster,” explains Evan. “We just think people should spend less time worrying about all of that nonsense and just go ride bikes.”

Evan, Adam and Randy continue to churn out great work to this day. The three of them perform in the faux-German parody disco group Total Ghost, for which they’ve produced a number of music videos. They also produce web comedies with various Denver comedians. To see more of their work, visit their website.

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.

The Last Bike Movie Shot on Kodachrome

Filmed by Bike audiences will have the rare opportunity to see the last bike movie shot on Kodachrome film. Kodachrome debuted in 1935 and was an instant hit as the first film to effectively, and later extremely vibrantly, render color.

The very last Kodachrome processing machine was shut down in at the end of 2010, and filmmaker Lars C. Larsen, a veteran Filmed by Bike participant, managed to get one last film made before processing was no longer available. The result is “Cyclocross on Kodachrome 40″, a gritty, gorgeous cyclocross portrait set to a killer soundtrack (as Larsen’s films always are).

“Cyclocross on Kodachrome 40″ plays during all screenings of the Friday Night Program and in 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: Filmmaker Q+A Sessions

yippee! volunteer with us Our Filmmaker Q+A sessions are powerful nights in the theater, an opportunity to get to know the creative minds behind some of Filmed by Bike’s favorite movies.

When the LCD Soundsystem remade the video for their song Drunk Girls, they chose to film it with a cadre of Portland bikers. The result is a gritty party video. Producer Kevin Sullivan will be on stage to discuss this piece, why they chose Portland, how they found the actors and how they developed the rough-and-tumble concept of an underground tall bike jousting bout.

Saturday, after the 5:00pm show:

Merritt Raitt, Kevin Sullivan (Producer), Professor Dave and his daughter, Heath Korvola

Sunday, after the 7:00pm show:

Joe Biel and Steve Bozzone, Ilima Considine, Chad Berkley

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 >>

Filmmaker Profile: Lars C. Larsen

Filmed by Bike - Every April - Come watch bike movies!In Portland, the name Lars Larsen may ring a bell – of alarm: the conservative talk show host (Larson) is well known for giving bikers a hard time. But there’s another Lars in town who is fighting more for good than evil: Lars C. Larsen. This Lars is a Portland based filmmaker who has been involved with Filmed by Bike for four years now. With his films, Lars brings a creative approach to the festival, such as the ultra-short 2009 Speed Kills that was shot with a cool vintage effect.

Lars’s films have appeared in the Chicago Underground Film Festival, the Caucophany Film Festival, at San Francisco Film Arts, the Humboldt International Film Festival and now for the fourth time at Filmed By Bike. Lars is currently working on the TNT drama series Leverage and he has previously worked on Coraline, The Hunted, and several TV and film productions shot in and around Portland.

Lars’s most recent film Go! Paperboy! will show in Program 1. Program details >>

Filmmaker Profie: Oliver Ogden

Filmmaker Oliver Ogden first heard about Filmed by Bike by seeing posters up at some of his favorite haunts. He was quickly inspired to work on a movie, and set about brainstorming ideas. “As a filmmaker and bike enthusiast,” he says, “I didn’t want to pass this opportunity to brush elbows with like minded Portlanders.”

One night, unable to sleep and continuously thinking of movie ideas, Ogden was struck with nostalgia for the fond memories of his youth, and he came up with the concept for Derailed, which will debut at this year’s Filmed by Bike. “The question arose,” he says, “can someone return to those idyllic carefree times while being weighed down by life’s trivialities?”

To find out Ogden’s take on that question, you’ll have to come see Derailed, which is part of the Pump it Up program. Showings: Fri 7,9 // Sat 5 // Sun 7,9

Filmmaker Profie: Ricardo Portillho

Ricardo Portilho, a Brazilian bike enthusiast and art director, heard about Filmed by Bike from the Amsterdam-based Gerrit Rietveld Academy mailing list. His film “I Just Can’t Forget These Things” will show in our 2008 festival.The impetus for the movie came from an assignment Portilho received from Kosmopolis, an organization from Rotterdam that works with cross-cultural relationships in The Netherlands. Continue reading

Filmmaker Profiles

I’ve spent some time getting to know the filmmakers of this year’s festival, and they are all really great. Check out the profiles on the blog and start to get excited about this weekend.

Which screening are you going to? Are you excited? Do you have your eyes on one of those raffle prizes? What are you wearing?

[ read the profiles ]

Moviemaker Spotlight: Bill Prouty

tag stillBill Prouty is a Minneapolis-based filmmaker. His thrilling chase film TAG pits a cyclist against a super-skilled rollerblader on the streets of London. You wouldn’t know it, but Bill says the piece was a totally guerilla production, filmed by hanging off the backs of busses, clinging to a motorcycle and skating along side the action. “All very dangerous,” he says, “but no serious injuries to speak of.”
Continue reading

Moviemaker Spotlight: Ashira

AshiraAshira Siegel’s film “Even the Girls” showed at our 2006 festival. “During the time I worked as a messenger in NYC” Ashira says, “I had all these crazy experiences that involved peoples reactions to seeing a woman in a job that most people don’t really expect a woman to work. At the same time we’d get mad props from people as well, but it was also because of our gender. It was bizarre because all the women I knew who were earning their living on their bikes were these amazingly strong, smart, focused, well spoken, really cool women who were drawn to the physicality of messengering and the adrenaline of rushing around the city on our bikes.”

And she had never made a movie before, but she was motivated. ” Riding my bike and messengering in the city changed my life. There is great community among messengers and biking made me strong, not just physically, but in my mind as well. It sharpened my senses and taught me to stand strong and firm, to speak up, even yell if I have to, and not feel bad about it. It gave me a confidence that nothing in my life ever had before. It really empowered me. ”

It wasn’t all fun and games putting the movie together, with a broken camera, damaged footage, re-shooting, and lots of learning, but in the end, Ashira says, the piece became her homage to riding. In short, Ashira declares that riding bikes saved her life, so the least she could do was to make a movie about it. Continue reading

Moviemaker Spotlight: Joshua Frankel

Joshua Frankel has been working as an animator and in visual effects for the past six years. His film, Bicycle Messengers, features animated messengers set against a backdrop of live action footage shot in Manhattan. “I was interested in integrating my animation, but drawing attention to the differences between the real and the fantasy,” Joshua says.

In the piece, Joshua says, he “cast bicycle messengers as mythological heroes in our contemporary society. They can do things that no one else can, they risk life and limb for their task, they live by their own codes, and they are simultaneously admired and feared by the general public. Like comic superheroes, a lot of them even wear tights. Usually we need to go off into fantasy worlds in find romanticism these days… its pretty fun find some of those elements right here in our midst. I’ve tried to do it in a way that is fair and not offensive, (mostly by leaving lots of bits mysterious so that the viewer’s imagination has a lot to chew on), and so far the reactions from messengers has been positive, so that’s good.”

Next up Joshua is working on a short fully animated piece about climate change. He’s also developing concepts for a more narrative extension of Bicycle Messengers and a public art piece that he describes as “fairly ambitious.”

Moviemaker Spotlight: Martin Reis

Martin Reis, from Toronto, Canada, is very busy with all things bike: from being a cycling activist to his blog Martino’s Bike Lane Diary. He never really thought of himself as a moviemaker until last year when he put together La Fuga di Olma and submitted it to Filmed by Bike. The piece easily won over the jury with its vintage found super-8 footage and sweet story of an Italian bike that longs for home.

This year you’ll see Martin’s submission Love to All the Rebels, a short, upbeat visual collage.

When he’s not busy riding bikes, Martino works in the arts for a Baroque Orchestra called Tafelmusik. He also enjoys still photography. But what is it about bikes that so engages Martin? ” Simple” he says. “Human and machine in harmony. They are blissful things.”