Yesterday, the third-annual LA Motorcycle Film Festival took place in Los Angeles, California. The event recognizes filmmakers who capture and present the spirit of motorcycling in a positive light. Nineteen short films of varied genres were shown on the big screen demonstrating how motorcycles can be used for transportation, competition, and of course, fun.
Long-time motorcyclist and filmmaker, Mark Duncan, is the man behind the event. Having noticed a void in the film industry, Duncan set out to create an event that would bring together filmmakers and allow them to share their vision amongst peers in a casual atmosphere.
“I love movies, I’m a film maker and I race motorcycles,” explains Duncan. “I started looking around and there is a film festival for everything but there wasn’t one for motorcycles. I thought it was about time that we had one of our own—especially in Los Angeles—there are so many motorcyclists and so many film makers.”
(Top) Nineteen short films were featured Sunday night in Los Angeles. The films ranged in genre from documentaries to comedies. (Bottom) All the money raised went to Riders for Health, a charity which funds healthcare transportation in rural Africa.
Riders throughout Southern California rode out to the event with the $10 admission going directly to Riders for Health, a charity that funds transportation services for medicine and health care equipment in rural parts of Africa.
“When I found out about Riders for Health—it was such a no brainer,” says Duncan. “A way to promote using motorcycles to save lives. I love what they do and we wanted to get behind it. And this was our way.”
More cash was raised courtesy of a raffle in which folks had a chance to win HJC helmets and Oakley sunglasses. The Motorcycle Safety Foundation, Eagle Rider, and Atlantis Motor also pitched in offering up its services for lucky winners, free of charge. Lastly, an exclusive opportunity to ‘ride to lunch’ with actresses Katee Sackhoff and Tricia Helfer from the hit made-for-TV series Battlestar Galactica is also up for grabs via eBay auction (ends tonight).
Highlights from Sunday night were light hearted comedies Emmett Deemmus and Vanstock. Larry Hankin’s Emmett Deemus is the tale of fictional character Emmett Deemus (played by Hankin) and his various run-ins and hi-jinx as he rides his sidecar-equipped motorcycle across rural parts of the country. In Vanstock, an uninspired kid finds motivation when he discovers a Woodstock-like gathering for van enthusiasts. Comical situations ensue when he has a run-in with a rival gang of female motorcyclists.
Other films based off factual stories showcase how motorcycles inspire a person’s life. Japanese cinematographer, Toru Tanida’s Left Side Story is the account of Australian Alan Kempster, 48, who started road racing after having both his right arm and leg amputated in a drunk driver hit-and-run accident 22 years ago. The film had a very uplifting tone showcasing both the power of the human spirit as well as the therapeutic effect of racing a motorcycle.
Motorcycle-USA’s Chronicles of a Club Racer project was one of the featured short films. Here Digital Media Producer, Ray Gauger (left) poses with film festival organizer Mark Duncan (center) and writer/actor John Hensley (right).
American motorcycle media outlets were represented by Motorcycle-USA’s production, Chronicles of a Club Racer, which details writer/actor John Hensley’s experience as he attempts to re-acclimate himself to the seat of his Ducati 848 EVO racebike after a lengthy hiatus due in part to his growing family and career. Motorcyclist Magazine also presented a very well put together video titled The Ural Experience. The film follows editors Ari Henning and Zach Courts as they travel across California via Ural sidecar to purchase a rare and very rough around the edges 50cc Honda two-stroke street bike. After purchasing the motorcycle for a few hundred dollars they go about the process of field stripping it in a hotel parking lot in an attempt to ride it home.
Looking to be a part of next year’s film festival? Check out the submission page for more details on how to submit your motorcycle-inspired short film. And if you’re interested in donating any goods or services for next year’s event check out the LA Motorcycle Film Festival website.