Interview with Bicycle Film Festival founder Brendt Barbur

By | March 9th, 2011 | No Comments

Produced by Johnny Knoxville and Spike Jonze, BFF opener The Birth of Big Air chronicles the career of legendary BMXer Mat Hoffman.

In its tenth year, the Bicycle Film Festival will be riding to Miami next week for the end of a 38-city, international tour that started back in May. Festival director Brendt Barbur founded BFF in 2001 after being hit by a bus in New York City, where he still lives. It wasn’t Barbur’s first traumatic experience on a bike: He had gone through someone’s windshield in San Francisco a few years before. Amazed at the reaction of the police, EMTs, and bystanders — “It was as if it was my fault, and I was so stupid for riding a bike” — Barbur decided to launch the BFF as “a platform to celebrate the bicycle” through music, art, and film. In the last ten years, he has organized 130 festivals around the world, including one in Miami in 2009.

This year’s fest kicks off next Thursday (March 17) with the unsanctioned La Noche Miami Criterium race in Wynwood. On Friday and Saturday, O, Cinema will screen bike films all evening, including The Birth of Big Air, Empire, and Riding The Long White Cloud, followed by after-parties in South Beach and downtown with Brooklyn Brewery specials (yum). Then Sunday at 2 p.m., there is a Bike To The Beach group ride taking off from Wynwood (2801 Biscayne Blvd), followed by “Chocolate Sundays” at Purdy Lounge Sunday night.

With BFF Miami set to roll into town, I spoke to Barbur by phone on Tuesday about how getting hit by a bus led him to start an international film festival, the state of Miami’s bike scene, and the cure to America’s car sickness. It was a late-afternoon, rambling interview, so I bucked the Q&A format for a series of Barbur’s thoughts on different topics.

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