FILMED BY BIKE is one of several annual affirmations of Portland as a major cycling city. Its films—all bike-centric shorts of eight minutes or less—are largely from Portland, but the full roster of contributors includes a strong representation from the rest of the West Coast, a smattering of submissions from New York, and even the odd one from Japan and the Netherlands. The point is less about groundbreaking, riveting filmmaking and more about community rapport and a certain joie de vivre shared by people whose two-wheeled mode of transport informs a substantial degree of their identity.
Outside of the sheer fun of experiencing it in a theater crammed with your beer-buzzy compatriots, the more whimsical films don't translate very well outside of the festival context, and—there's just no other way to say it—are often painfully dorky. However, the festival always contains a good number of short documentaries that address current issues affecting bikes, and chronicle the many micro-cultures that spring out of the scene. This year the audience will learn about the feasibility of year-round bike commuting in Copenhagen, the state of Critical Mass, and the Mercury's own bike-beat reporter, Sarah Mirk, will get in on the action with a piece addressing the city's Bicycle Master Plan.
This is no Sundance, but it is a place to connect with other advocates (and troublemakers) who share a common interest in perpetuating one of the most omnipresent and important factors in urban Portland life.For more info on the fest, as well as specific film showtimes, see filmedbybike.org.