“Obviously that’s not a lot of fun, getting hit by a bus, so I wanted to do something positive,” Bicycle Film Festival director Brendt Barbur tells ANIMAL. Biking in New York can be perilous, but there’s a reason why we do it and since 2001, Barbur celebrated the biking spirit in a series of screenings, street antics, concerts, events, art shows and parties. This year, we’re all over it.

“I remember riding on the Williamsburg bridge and you see a couple of cyclists on the bridge and you wave to them every time. I used to hand out festival flyers on the bridge and I would wait for people to come by.” Not anymore!

To adapt to the ever-changing city, BFF has something for every kind of biker and a community that rallies behind it. For many years, BFF has worked with Blonde Redhead for many years and with Brendt Barbur, they made a piece a few years ago called Italian American. “It’s a beautiful piece,” featuring 16 and 8mm footage tonight at the BFF at Hester Heights event at the Eventi Open Air Plaza (851 6th Avenue). Simone Pace and Amedeo Pace will accompany the piece. Meanwhile, at the “Joy Ride” art show (835 6th Avenue) will be themed around Jorgen Leth, a legendary Danish filmmaker (A Sunday in Hell) and feature imagery form Brendt’s The Commentator film about him: “We went to the Paris Roubaix 2013 race and documented it from an inside perspective. We followed the photographers, the people racing to capture it.”

“I really love movies, stories, visual art, and music. It all came together organically. There was a great man who supported — Jonas Mekas — and the whole Anthology Film Archive staff, that’s where we started, and thirteen years later we’ve gone to sixty cities around the world and every continent except for Antarctica,” Brendt adds.

Jonas Mekas is 90-years-old, known as the founder of Anthology and one of the guardians of avant garde film. And… a biking fan, who was involved with BFF since Brendt say his office door, collaged cut out images of bikes. “He told me that when he was younger, he was riding his bike and a horseback drawn carriage knocked him into a ditch and he got back up on his bike. He kept on riding. He didn’t let it stop him. I got back on my bike too.”

Brendt’s retelling of one of Mekas’s opening speeches is particularly stirring: “He was moving to Brooklyn and going through his stuff and found the Goebels diaries, the propaganda manuals of the Nazi party and he read the May 7th, 1940 entry. He said, ‘I’m going to read from this book, read one paragraph and then get rid of this book… ‘They won’t believe me but the power of the resistance is the bicyclists. We have to stop the bicyclists. They are coming around the corner. We can’t catch them.’ People just went crazy! We have a lot of magic in the Bicycle Film Festival, I don’t know how that keeps happening.”

You can’t stop the bicyclist. Stay tuned.

THURSDAY JUNE 27
BFF at Hester Nights Opening 5:00 – 10:00 pm
ITALIAN AMERICAN: SIMONE PACE + AMEDEO PACE
(Blonde Redhead)
Eventi Open Air Plaza: 851 6TH Ave. Entrances on 29TH St. Free
After party: Lit Lounge 93 2nd Ave. at 5th

JOYRIDE ART SHOW
Opening 6:00 – 10:00 pm
Curated by Brendt Barbur in Association with Periscope
835 6TH Ave.

FRIDAY JUNE 28
BIKE MOVIES AT ANTHOLOGY
PROGRAM 1 – FUN BIKE SHORTS 7:00 pm
PROGRAM 2 – MOON RIDER 9:00 pm
PROGRAM 3 – MESSENGER PROGRAM 11:00 pm
50% OF FUNDS DONATED TO NYBMF

SATURDAY JUNE 29
STREET PARTY – OPENING 10:00 – 6:00 pm
Booths, artisinal food, ramps, BMX demos, vintage BMX exhibition, games…

PROGRAM 4 – SINGLE TRACK HIGH 3:00 pm
PROGRAM 5 – THE NEW WOMAN 5:00 pm
PROGRAM 6 – URBAN BIKE SHORTS 7:00 pm
PROGRAM 7 – URBAN BIKE SHORTS 9:00 pm
PROGRAM 8 – BFF 2012 GREATEST HITS 11:00 pm

SUNDAY JUNE 30
PROGRAM 9 – JANAPAR 3:00 pm
PROGRAM 10 – CICLO 5:00 pm
PROGRAM 11 – BMX 7:00 pm CO CURATED BY JOEY PIAZZA
PROGRAM 12 – RACING AROUND THE WORLD 9:00 pm

(Lead image: Flickr