Brendt Barbur started the internationally renowned, grassroots Bicycle Film Festival after getting hit by a bus in New York City. He took a crappy situation and did something positive for bike riders by promoting biking through arts and movies. After only ten years, the festival is now established in 27 cities around the world. "I keep doing it, because people keep coming," he said. This Thursday to Sunday, the BFF has its second year in Miami.
Rydel of The Miami Bike Scene is glad the festival is visiting Miami, listing us among more obvious biking capitals like Austin and Portland. He hopes people will come out on their bikes and enjoy the events surrounding BFF, and said, "It's exciting that this festival's coming down to South Florida."
BFF is extremely popular around the globe. Barbur noted, "The bike movement is surging in places like Indonesia, surging in Thailand, it's blowing up in Korea." He receives emails and phone calls from cyclists in these and other countries who want in on the BFF action. In London and Portland, lines stretch around the block for entrance. This year alone, he hopes to have 300,000 people attend worldwide.
Though Barbur grew up a BMX kid in California, he got involved in the bike messenger culture in New York, from which grew the fixed gear community. His background is not limited to one sort of riding, and the festival reflects that. The people making films range from a 17 year old boy from Wisconsin to Spike Jonze, Johnny Knoxville, and Jeff Tremaine, for whose film "Birth of Big Air" Fugazi created a soundtrack. There's even a skate movie that takes place in New Zealand, "Riding the Long White Cloud." Such stars as Jim Jarmusch have been spotted attending the festival, proving it's for film buffs and cyclists alike.
Barbur embraces the culture of each city and works with locals to make the festival a place where they want to be. When the BFF was last screening in Paris, they hosted an art show at the high-end store Colette, showing work by Michel Gondry, and other artists with great appeal. Miami may not have Colette, but it has an active nightlife, so Thursday night, La Noche Criterium will take place after dark, including both a fixed gear and a road cycling race, starting at O Cinema. After-parties at various locations will also hopefully get us involved (Register at bikereg.com
, keyword: "La Noche Miami").
"I think Miami can be one of the biggest bike communities because, right now, Miami is experiencing a renaissance of the arts," he says. He also believes that bike riders are open-minded and creative. Then there's the fact that it's warm all year here.
"We want people to come even if you're not into cycling," he adds. Who knows, you just might be inspired to jump on your own two wheels, get out, and enjoy the Miami weather.
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The BFF takes place Thursday to Sunday at O Cinema
(90 NW 29th St., Miami), screenings start at 7 p.m. A group ride on March 19 will start at Government Center (150 NW First St., Miami) and end at the festival. Check the website
for after-party information.