Last Saturday was a bicycle-centered day for me: in the morning I did the 3-hour long Tour de Somerville bike ride, then rode my bike to work and later I went to the Brattle Theater for the 2008 Boston Bike Film Festival. When I first heard about it, I got a little confused cause there had already been a bike film festival in Boston in August, right? Yes, but it looks like these are two different festivals: Back in August there was the Bicycle Film Festival 2008 , which takes place in different cities all over the world and in August it visited Boston. This one was the 2008 Boston Bike Film Festival, which was going on Friday and Saturday. I didn’t make it to Friday’s screening. The Saturday night event was surprisingly sparsely attended. In my discussions with other people, we felt that the event could have used better promotion and advertising. I also heard that even the films line up wasn’t finalized until very recently. Maybe the Red Sox were playing that night was a factor too. Oh, well…
There were six short films shown. One was really bad, the majority mediocre and two of them were very good. Now, I have a soft spot for short films and filmmakers, and I don’t want to be harsh or anything, but some of the films needed some serious editing. One of the films I liked best was Danny Madden’s “Another New Bike”, which was well shot and edited, with a clear plot and very well acted by the young actors. The Emerson College student’s short was funny, cute and sharp.
The best of all, and I think quality-wise at a whole different level was “Full Cycle” a short documentary about the Flying Scotsman Graeme Obree that showed what it takes both physically and mentally to compete at the highest level of World Cycling. Obree built his own medal-winning bike from parts of washing machines, and while he was breaking records at the race, he battled manic depression and was suicidal. This BBC Archive Documentary by director Russell Walker was sharp and honest. The cinematography was exceptional, the editing tight. The documentary stroke a balance in showing both sides of Obree: the outside, that of the winner biker (hard work and training, breaking records and winning medals), and the inside, that of the struggling man trying to understand why he’s unhappy after winning, recognize the problem and find a solution. A very good short documentary!
In all I think the event should have been more advertised: I am sure there are a lot more people in the Boston area interested in both bicycles and short films. Hopefully next year they’ll do better.