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

100 Bike Movies!

The deadline for entries is officially closed and we were quite impressed with the turn out! We received double the number of entries as last year with improved overall quality. So, what to do with all those great movie? SHOW THEM, of course! This year we will have two programs over the course of the weekend. There are eight screenings and the matinees are all ages. More info to come!

Let the Freak-Out Begin!

March 1st, is that postmarked by or received by? What if it is late? Can I just drop it off at your office? What if it is just over eight minutes? I’m sending it from Sweden, what if it doesn’t arrive in time? We’re transferring from tape and it’s out of our hands, it might be late, will you still take it?

Yes, these are the questions of movie makers freaking out about meeting that call for entries deadline of March 1st. Is that a hard-fast deadline? Yes. What if the submission is late? They jury screening may be over and your movie won’t be watched until 2009. But that’s okay – 2009 needs movies too!

We’ve got tons of submissions already and more on their way. So far the overall quality is excellent, we have more movies from outside the US than ever before and a lot of diverse submissions. 2008 is looking pretty great! I can’t wait for the opening night.

NO MAS CHILI!

On Feb 10th I was at the Worst Day of the Year Ride in Portland to promote Filmed by Bike and encourage people to submit their movies. This is a fun, 18-mile easy ride around Portland, no matter the weather. I had a blast! I met many fun bike lovers who were not only excited about bike love but about sharing that bike love! Laughing Planet Cafe did a fantastic job of feeding us all. As I am new to the Portland area, it was my first supported ride experience. And what a beautiful experience it was! Fresh chili, chowder and bread filled our tummies and warmed our hearts.

When Ayleen, FBB Director, told me there was a chili overload and asked if I would like to take some home with me, I was more than delighted! Being the angel she is, she delivered it to our home. But this was over a week ago…and I can no longer stomach even the idea of stuff! So here is where I say, NO MAS CHILI! Yes it was delicious, yes it was free, but here’s the down side..I live with six other people who have been no-stop chili eating machines! I have seen endless devoured chili dogs, bowls of chili mac and even chili and eggs! Thank goodness it is gone, until one of my house mates finds the hidden stash in the freezer!

Now, let’s get back to MOVIES and forget about chili!

Can Safety be Sexy?

Unfortunately, safety is on our minds a lot lately here in Portland. Two cyclists were recently killed when struck by a motorist making a right turn. A third was seriously injured. I’m more nervous when riding at night – I feel more vulnerable than ever. But at the same time, there is strength in numbers. Two different major studies have shown that the number of motorist-bike accidents goes down significantly when the number of bikers on the road increases. That means keep riding. Keep riding.

No one wants to be told what to do and safety shit has never been cool. But this is the Modern Age, with beats, technology and innovation at our fingertips.Fads and styles change by the minute. YouTube makes unlikely people worldwide stars (Chocolate Rain, Turtle Boy…). Can safety be sexy? Can you make a kick ass safety movie in under 8 minutes? The jury (TBD) and I look forward to seeing your attempt.

Here Comes 2008!

Filmed by Bike headquarters is gearing up for the 2008 festival. First on the agenda: a new logo. Special thanks to Sang Park, a Portland-based illustrator who created our new logo. Keep your eyes peeled, you’ll start to see it all around town.

Ladies and gentlemen, get your cameras ready. It’s time for you filmmakers to start gearing up, too! The submission deadline is March 1. For more information, see the call for entries page. Spread the word!

It’s Raining in Portland

It just won’t stop raining. Where the hell is summer? Anyway, this is a call out to all those of you making your movies with rain scenes that now’s a great time to be out there shooting. The weather’s warm but the skies are cloudy. You’ve only got until March 1, 2008 – so get right on it before time gets away from you.

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.”

55 Films

THANK YOU to all of you who submitted to our 2007 festival.

We received 55 submissions, that’s up from 44 last year. And I have to say, there were a ton of really great movies. The jury certainly had their work cut out for them. 26 movies made the cut to be screened by the jury. The chosen films will be posted here by Monday.

In the meantime, if you’re not already on our mailing list you should join it now. The issues come out roughly once a month (more closer to the festival) and always feature a cool drawing – like a free DVD, free beer passes, free tickets to the festival and more. Plus, you’ll be the first to be in the know on all of our happenings.

NE Portland Wins!!!!

If you know Portland, you know that creativity abounds in all five quadrants (yes, they’re quadrants but we have five). So I don’t know what it is, call it the magnetism of Filmed by Bike Headquarters (based in NE Portland), if you will. An overwhelming majority of submissions for this year’s festival came from NE Portland. Sure, we had our Australias and Victorias and Dublins, and plenty all around the US, but the most common area of the world was right here. And the winner of the Proximity Contest goes to someone who is also in the running for the Hottest Short Short – a 30 second film submitted from three blocks away.

And they’re still rolling in! We’ve gotten nearly 20 submissions today alone. It’s 11:00 at night and the doorbell just rang with yet another.

Go Ahead, Bribe the Jury

Someone asked me today, “Is it okay to bribe the Jury?” And I said, “HELL YES!” I mean, after all, our Jury is comprised of a stellar group of rockstars who deserve freebies, cash, booze or other such gifts. They’ve certainly got their work cut our for them on Sunday as they preview the submissions in search of the final few.

So yeah, go for it, bribe the Jury, if you must.

Bike Boat Float

That’s what my friends and I call it when we put our boats in the trailer and bike to the river for a little ole float over to an island. So imagine my delight when today I received a submission that’s all about biking with boats! I don’t want to spoil the movie, and since I’m not on the jury I’m not able to say for sure it will make the cut, so I won’t reveal any more of the details. But think about it! Biking with boats… boating with bikes….

Every day I’m greeted by more submissions! Keep them coming. You’ve got Wednesday and Thursday to get them in. Portlanders, drop them in the mailbox slot at the Filmed By Bike headquarters.

The 30 Second Gem

Just because it’s longer, doesn’t mean it’s better.

I’ve long been an advocate of the short short. In Filmed by Bike’s first year, the maximum length for submissions was 10 minutes. But I quickly realized that this would always be a festival that attracts new filmmakers (which is part of it’s charm) and new filmmakers need to learn the power of editing. At eight minutes, you just going to have to edit. And then edit some more. Really, PLEASE.

That’s why I was so excited to receive in the mail yesterday a little 30 second gem. I don’t want to spoil it for you, so I won’t say anything more, but I do love those short shorts. So far we’ve gotten five submissions that are under two minutes. That’s what I’m talking about!

Keep them coming. You have seven precious more days to get your pieces in. If you’re Portland-based, you can just drop them in our headquarters mailbox.

Filmed by Bike Headquarters: In Japan

Filmed by Bike Headquarters is taking a little vacation. Call it the calm before the storm, if you will. I’ve really been enjoying the submissions that are flooding in, and I know that while I’m here in Japan the mailbox is overflowing. I’ll have to spend some serious time in front of the TV when I return. Keep those submissions coming! Because of our hiatus, the deadline for entries has been extended to March 8. After that date, the jury will have their screening party to review and critique the submissions. A sea of popcorn on the floor, empty beer bottles, cumpled scribbled notes, grading sheets and perhaps a passed out jury member or two later, we’ll have our chosen films. They’ve got their work cut out for them: there are tons of great submissions already.

27 Days to Make Movies

There are just 27 days left to finalize your movie and send it in for Filmed by Bike 2007! Great stuff has been rolling in, but I always look forward to those last two weeks. In those last two weeks, my mailbox is flooded. I run to the mailbox every day and I’m not even back in the house yet before envelopes are ripped open to reveal the treasures inside. And yeah, maybe I was working, or doing my taxes, or making lunch – but everything stops when movies arrive and I just have to watch them right away.

I’m looking forward to your submissions! Send them off right away.