What do Brooklyn, New York and Portland, Oregon have in common? Both are urban centers in otherwise largely rural states, with short escape routes exiting the cities that take motorcyclists out to beautiful farm country, forests, rivers, mountains, and lakes. Both Brooklyn and Portland also host annual Motorcycle Film Festivals!
The Second Annual Motorcycle Film Festival was held in late September in Brooklyn, New York. Besides showing both short and feature-length moto-movies and documentaries, they also showed classics and displayed a custom motorcycle and art exhibit. The winner of the 2013 MFF was Eric Ristau and his film The Best Bar in America.
The Second Annual Portland Motorcycle Film Festival is January 30 & 31. Last year, Portland's Hollywood Theater sold out every one of the 1500 seats in the house for two nights. The PDX Motorcycle Film Festival showed new moto-movies Why We Ride and Road Warriors with Superbike racers Josh Hayes, Melissa Paris, and Elena Myers, and also classics such as Take It To The Limit featuring MotoGP Legends Barry Sheene, Mike Hailwood, and Kenny Roberts and five-time FIM Motocross Champion Roger deCoster.
The Portland Motorcycle Film Festival is put on by the Oregon Motorcycle Road Racing Association and is a fund-raiser to help finance the Air Fence and other safety equipment at the local race-track, Portland International Raceway. PIR is one of the few racetracks in the US that is a city park and also previous host to Indy Cars and AMA Road Racing. Several local motorcycle shops and moto-clothing makers sponsor the event.
This year the Portland Motorcycle Film Festival is presenting five films:
- "Out Of Nothing" - a documentary about land speed record competitions
- "Speed Mud and Glory" - about speedway racing
- "Somewhere Else Tomorrow" - covers how to travel the world on your motorcycle with no money in your pockets and no sponsorship
- "The Ride Report" - about moto-adventure travel
- "Driven To Ride" - a documentary exploring the spirit of women motorcyclists
Check out the trailers for all these films on the PDX Motorcycle Films website.
Other Motorcycle Film Festivals
World motorcycle-travelers Austin Vince and his wife Lois Pryce have published books and made movies about their world-wide motorcycle travels. They also host the Adventure Travel Film Festivals with the help of fellow world-rider Ted Simon. In the true spirit of adventure, rather than remain in the same place every year, since 2012 they have taken the Adventure Travel Film Festivals on tour to Arizona, North Carolina and Dorset, England. The 2015 festivals are February 13-15 in Victoria, Australia and August 14-16 in London, England.
The three previous Los Angeles Motorcycle Film Festivals were fundraisers for Riders For Health. The Riders for Health website shows that the organization "is an international social enterprise." Riders for Health manage and maintain vehicles for health-focused partners in sub-Saharan Africa. Their expertise in transport management enables health workers to deliver vital health care to rural communities on a reliable and cost-effective basis."
All of these festivals are much greater than just two hours of sitting in a dark theater. These events are biker-parties! Most have pre-screening and post-screening socializing and lubrication sessions. These are great opportunities to see all of your moto-friends whom you've been missing since the summer. If the winter weather is too nasty for you to get out on your motorcycle, the next best thing might be to sit in a cozy theater with a bucket of popcorn and watch other people around the world doing it and support a few good causes at the same time.
Written By: Paul Andor Nagy