The movies were selected by Kalamazoo resident Brian Moon, who started the festival in 2010. Moon is a frequent bike rider himself and says he’d like to see more area residents commute to work on two wheels instead of four.
“I’m trying to bring biking and bike culture more into the mainstream and less on the fringe,” he says. “People not following the rules is part of the problem, but if there were more bikes on the road, if biking was more acceptable, people would know how to drive around them. Right now, it’s a foreign concept to have both bikes and cars on the road, so people don’t know how to drive around bikes, and bikers need to learn how to act on the road.”
The films are up 15 minutes long, with an average length of three minutes. Watching all of them will take just over an hour and a half. Moon views lots of films before narrowing down his choices for the festival. He says he looks for variety in filming styles and subject matter.
“Some of them are scripted, either dramatic or comedic, some are documentaries," says Moon. "Some are what I’d call test or art pieces.”
Moon describes a short film titled Vi Visa:
“It’s a two minute and 16 second film from Canada. It’s filmed at night and there are all these explosions and fireworks going off. All you can really see is silhouettes of BMX bike riders riding around. It’s very captivating and this is one of the more arty pieces.”
Set in Ireland, Three Legged Horses is about a cab driver who transports riders in a three-wheeled carriage.
“It’s just the story of how he gets through his night as a pedicab driver and in the end the whole town comes out to support him," Moon says. "So it’s really about him and his trials and the bicycle is just kind of a background figure in it.”
One of the American-made films in the festival is called Mick.
“It’s a story about a young man who’s trying to break the Guinness Book of World Records for longest time spent on a bicycle,” Moon says.
Scenes show Mick on a tiny bike in the shower and sitting on a full-size bike while scooping ice cream cones. He drops them while handing them to customers. As you watch Moon says you start to wonder if the movie is scripted or a true story.
“So you need to try to figure it out for yourself," he says. "But, it’s a surprising little piece that’s very enjoyable to watch and very well-done.”