November 06th, 2013
#kindawesome Q+A with Bicycle Film Festival founder Brendt Barbur
By KIND Editor
Here at KIND HQ, some of us commute by bike to the office–we know that its easy and fun to be kind to your body and the environment by biking! We introduced some great stories earlier this year from the bike community and are excited by our ongoing partnership with the Bicycle Film Festival. We recently got to spend some time with the festival founder Brendt Barbur as he sped through the streets of New York City. Watch the video, share this #kindawesome bike story and read on to learn more about Brendt’s take on the growing global bike culture.
Stay tuned for a special #kindawesome project we’re launching in Chicago to help promote small acts of kindness. And catch us in Chicago at the upcoming Bicycle Film Festival, November 21-24!
KIND: What are some unexpected successes of the BFF?
Brendt Barbur: I love the DIY spirit that is integral to the culture. It does things like inspire a fashion editor who went to the first festival in Tokyo to start her own bike magazine. BFF inspires people worldwide to bike. I never thought that 13 years later we would be in 60 cities.
What is an example of a city with a flourishing bike culture?
London is the best example of a city progressing—from infrastructure, education, culture, art and institutional support. In London, cycling is a major necessity. The tube is at its max. The city center was closed to traffic so the presence of bicycles became more evident.
We’ve been working in London for ten years now. We work with different institutions like Central Saint Martins design program to come up with working solutions for bike culture like bicycle theft. We found that when there were kiosks in the street, there was less bicycle theft. We reached out to find a way to engage folks from different backgrounds around bicycles like fashion, design and social design.
Which city would you like to see BFF in the future?
Accra, Ghana. There is a lot of interest in bicycle projects there and we featured a few movies from this area in the BFF. The organization, Bikes not Bombs, sends crates of bicycles to Ghana using the bicycle as a vehicle for social change. There is a need for bicycles because people walk long distances and cannot afford motorized transportation. The organization developed the infrastructure to get more bicycles into Ghana. It’s smartly done.
What is next for the BFF?
We are producing a feature documentary titled “The Commentator.” The main subject is acclaimed filmmaker Jørgen Leth who directed “A Sunday in Hell” (1976) about a race called the Paris Roubaix. It changed the way sports commentaries were filmed. He is a prolific filmmaker who loves cycling, art and film and he is a regular commentator for the Tour de France and the Paris Roubaix.
Years later we return to the Paris Roubaix with a 35-person crew, 17 cameras, documentary filmmaker Albert Maysles and cameramen Stefan Ruiz, Brain Vernor and Patrick Trefz. We follow Leth through commentating and capture the contemporary pro racers. It’s the first film I have directed.
What is your favorite route in NYC?
Over the bridges to Brooklyn.
What does the bicycle represent to you?