Bicycle Film Festival Toronto

The 2011 Bicycle Film Festival

The Bicycle Film Festival is about to throw down its kickstand in Toronto for the fifth time. Running from August 10-13, the festival greets a city for which cycling has been an especially hot issue of late, with debate still raging about council's decision to remove the Jarvis Street bike lanes, extra attention paid to bicycle riding pinkos, and the launch of BIXI, Toronto's first bike-sharing program. The annual film festival, which travels around the word, will feature close to 50 bicycle-friendly films at the Royal Cinema. Needless to say, that's a lot to keep track of, so in case Rob Ford (or anyone else) wants a little direction, here are a few suggestions.

The films are grouped into five programs, two on Friday (at 7pm and 9pm) and three on Saturday (at 5pm, 7pm and 9pm). The feature film of the first program, Racing Towards Red Hook, follows three cyclists who are competing in the Red Hook Criterium, New York's renowned underground race in Brooklyn. The rules are what really set the race apart: 20 laps in Brooklyn's industrial Red Hook neighbourhood, one gear, no brakes. Plus lots of testosterone and hero-potential.

The second program is anchored by With My Own Two Wheels, which demonstrates the social power of the bike via the stories of five individuals for whom cycling helps to provide greater access to health care, education and a better life in general.

This program will also include Parts Unknown, a short about George Mckillop, Kensington Market's celebrated bike mechanic who was forced to close his legendary shop last summer after 18 years in the Market.

On Saturday, Labour of Love, the feature film of the third program, follows a Canadian cyclist as she competes in the RAAM (Race Across America), an epic event which covers almost 5000 km in 12 days (that is, for those who finish).

The fourth program, Fun Bike Shorts, will include The Backwards Rider, a film based on the enigmatic Queen West cyclist known for his unconventional style of riding. Also on offer is Bike Ride — a BFF "greatest hit" brought back from previous years because of its popularity.

From the fifth program, the pick of the litter is likely the the A must-see film in the fifth program, Urban Bike Shorts, is Fabric Bike, which follows Toronto's own chic bike-gang, the Deadly Nightshades as they assemble one of the most unconventional bikes you could care to imagine.

In addition to film screenings, there will be ample opportunity for cycling enthusiasts to schmooze at an art show, panel discussions, and various parties. The Back Breaks Art Show and the Panel Discussion will start the festival off on Wednesday night at the Gladstone Hotel. The exhibition will feature a number of works that celebrate the long history and projected future of bicycles, while the panel is slated to address the question, "Building Bridges: How to tell good stories and win over non-cyclists at a dinner party." The opening night party is on Thursday at the Horseshoe, and the after parties take place at Bike Pirates DIY Space on Friday, and Hard Luck Bar on Saturday.

The Bicycle Film Festival will runs from August 10-13 at the Royal Cinema. Tickets can be purchased online. Tickets are $10 for individual programs, $20 for a Saturday pass, and $30 for a festival pass.

Still from Fabric Bike

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