Brooklyn, N.Y., Sept. 14–17—If I’m not riding motorcycles, then I’m probably writing, reading, or talking about them. Or watching them in stunt shows or races. So when the opportunity arose for me to attend the fourth annual International Motorcycle Film Festival in Brooklyn, New York, I jumped at the chance.
The MFF is intended to showcase motorcycle films and filmmakers, bringing together all genres of the motorcycling world. This year’s event was held at Gutter Bar, a combination bar and bowling alley around the corner from Indian Larry Motorcycles, which, to our delight, was holding its annual block party the same weekend. The Gutter Bar is a very popular spot in a hip section of Williamsburg, and quite a few block party attendees split their time between the two events.
The Gutter was probably the most unusual venue for a film festival that we’d ever seen. After entering the bar, we had to walk through a graffiti-festooned bathroom to get to the makeshift theatre in the back. But the rewards for such a venture were immense.
Over the four days of the festival, 40 films were presented to appreciative audiences. My schedule didn’t permit me to watch every offering, but I was totally enthralled by the films I did see. How to be Deadly made me want to fall in love with a rock ‘n’ roll musician and ride away with him on his minibike. I wanted Mancini, the Motorcycle Wizard to build me a sleek and speedy Italian race bike. I can’t say I wanted to traverse the desolate ice roads of Canada like Oliver Solaro in A.K.A. Brokentooth – Canada’s Ice Road Biker, but I was totally transfixed by the Australian outback, the exotic setting for Arrows of Fire. The film Take None Give None provided total enlightenment about the Chosen Few MC, the first racially integrated motorcycle club in the U.S. The most poignant film was Richie Pan Forever, a documentary about the late tattooist and artist, mostly shot in the first person before his untimely death.
One of my favorite aspects of the festival was getting to meet various actors and film makers that attended to present their films, such as the members of the hilarious Handsome Asians MC from the films Boutonniere and Dirtbag II: Return of the Rattler, Oliver Solaro of A.K.A. Brokentooth and Leon Parsons, the musician and lead in How to be Deadly, as well as film director/writer Nik Sexton. Meeting the festival’s host, John Hensley, was a treat as well. John is an actor (remember the character of Matt McNamara from Nip/Tuck?), a racer and all-around motorcycle aficionado, and through his introductions, added humor, depth and enthusiasm to each offering.
The judges comprised a cross-section of musicians, custom bike builders and craftsmen, a cinematographer, film and magazine editors, directors, artists, and a former MFF Best Festival award winner. This year’s awards were presented Saturday evening at the block party stage, with Out of Nothing winning Best Festival, Dirtbag II: Return of the Rattler achieving People’s Choice, best Feature Narrative awarded to Rumbling, Short Narrative going to Two-Stroked: A Love Story, Feature Documentary going to Dream Racer, Short Documentary to The Coast to Coast Trial, Experimental awarded to Stelvio2Stelvio, and The Delivery winning the 2016 Motorcycle Film Festival Trailer.