In the high-profile world of sports movies, bicycling often plays second-string to films about football, baseball or hockey. But next weekend, cycling takes center stage when the Bicycle Film Festival hits Sacramento’s Fremont Park for the first time in the festival’s 10-year history.
The festival will kick off at 7 p.m. on May 14, with a pre-party at Hot Italian restaurant, located across the street from downtown Sacramento’s Fremont Park. The program of 16 short films begins at 9 p.m. in the park.
On Saturday at 9 p.m., following an evening of music, food and more, the feature film Where Are You Go will be screened. All screenings are free and open to the public.
Guests are encouraged to continue the party and return to the park on Sunday afternoon to view the fifth annual Tour of California professional bicycle race pass through Sacramento.
Bicycle Film Festival founder and director Brendt Barbur started the festival after he was hit by a bus while riding his bike in New York City. He said he wanted to create something positive and artistic out of the experience.
“I’m more involved in the arts and film, and I’d rather do that than lobbying and put on a tie or talk to City Hall,” Barbur said. “I do share some of those same goals – I’d like to see more bikes around. But I think doing something more fun and art related is more of what I’m into.”
The festival has traveled to dozens of cities all over the world, including London, Tokyo, Montreal and New York, and soon it will make its first trips to South America and South Korea. Barbur said the festival has been well received in every city so far.
“We’ve sold out almost every show since we’ve started. People enjoy it,” he said. “They get audible, they get excited. It sounds much closer to a rock show. It’s like a party – people have a good time.”
Films featured in the festival are tailored to each host city. Sacramento’s program will include Northern California filmmakers and celebrities, such as professional skateboarder John Cardiel, as well as favorite films from past shows.
Barbur said the festival has encouraged a dialogue among the bicycle community.
“It’s spread ideas throughout the world,” he said. “There’s a [bicycle repair cooperative] Bike Kitchen in L.A. and now Vienna. I have a feeling that may have started because they saw a movie about it.”
The Friends of Fremont Park volunteer group is helping to organize the event. Community organizer Lizz Barringer Lagomarsino said films in the park are always great fun.
“The Capital Area Development Authority has done several movies in the park and they’ve been very popular,” Lagomarsino said. “It’s really nice to be out in the park on a nice evening and watch a film sitting in the grass or on a blanket.”
In addition to the films, guests will enjoy food, a beer garden and music provided by DJs.
“There’s going to be a bike valet, so people can come out and hang out with other people in the community, watch some independent films, have a good time,” Lagomarsino said.
Calvin Diep, a sophomore exercise biology major, is a frequent biker – like most UC Davis students.
“I can get around a lot faster. It’s good exercise,” he said. “[The Bicycle Film Festival] sounds like a good thing – to raise awareness of [the benefits of] riding bikes.”
For more information about the Bicycle Film Festival in Sacramento, visit bicyclefilmfestival.com/sacramento.
ROBIN MIGDOL can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.