The international Bicycle Film Festival kicked off yesterday in downtown Santa Barbara with a party and an art show at DNA Studio.
The second-annual Santa Barbara installment runs through this Saturday and aims to celebrate the culture of American bicycle-riding through art, film and music. The event schedule includes 42 short films shown in the I.V. Theater throughout the weekend, as well as a cycling equipment and clothing swap meet tomorrow from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the I.V. Theater parking lot.
The BFF is a major event in the urban bike movement and has been held in various locations such as San Francisco, Chicago, Tokyo and Milan. Founding Festival Director Brendt Barbur started the event in 2001 after he was hit by a bus while biking in New York City to help cope with his situation and open a discussion about cycling safety.
The Santa Barbara festival organizer and Cranky’s Bike Shop owner Jim Cadenhead said the featured films depict a wide range of people and situations relatable to a diverse audience.
“Every year, there is something inspiring,” Cadenhead said. “The festival goes beyond expectation. The quality of the movies and the skill level of the directors are incredible and every single film touches something different in somebody.”
Directors depict bicycle riding from a variety of angles, portraying it as a sport, profession, hobby and necessity.
Jacob Siegel-Boettner, co-director of festival film “With My Two Wheels,” said the documentary follows the lives of five people from different countries such as Ghana and India who consider cycling a major aspect of their lives.
Siegel-Boettner said the diversity among festival participants and the movie variety make BFF an engaging and unique experience.
“[The festival] has cool and empowering stories from all around the world with the bike as a common thread. There are few places where you can see so many different faces of bikers come together because biking communities tend to be a little split,” Siegel-Boettner said. “Here, though, we have hipsters in their 50s, people who commute on bikes, top-level racers … It’s amazing to get to see and meet all the people who show up.”
BFF sales worker Josh Vanasse, a third-year mechanical engineering major, said the event offers enticing productions for non-bicycling enthusiasts.
“Whether your interest is in film, cycling or just the sustainability and environmentally conscious aspect of biking, you should come on out,” Vanasse said. “There are so many films showing all the realms of cycling.”
The event also offers participants discounted sales on specialized bike equipment, Cadenhead said.
“There are truly some pretty amazing deals and usually you can get things pennies on the dollar,” Cadenhead said. “Students could really take advantage of the prices.”
Cadenhead said the festival encourages students and community members to embrace the cycling community as a whole.
“It’s not just about looking at tricks, races and stories,” Cadenhead said. “It’s about seeing what bikes have to offer and how they can impact people’s lives. You don’t have to be a bike junkie to come to the festival,” Cadenhead said. “For those who ride or don’t ride at all — come out. It’s an extremely inspiring festival and you’re going to have a great time.”
Tickets cost $10 each and are available online at www.bicyclefilmfestival.com.