Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Burundi's Biking Bananas!

Though I haven't lived in Burundi for about a year now, I still have good memories - and plenty of photos - of the place.  Which is why, when my independent filmmaker friend Mike Vogel told me I should make a Burundi bike movie to enter in a Portland-based, bike-themed film festival, I decided to go for it.

He had seen some of the grainy, point-and-shoot video clips I had posted on YouTube of Burundian cargo bikers screaming down mountain roads with huge piles of bananas loaded on the back, bringing them from farms in the hills to market in the capital, Bujumbura.  I thought there was no way my amateur-ish clips could make a good video.  But Mike's a good convincer, and before I knew it I had three minutes worth of combined still-and-video footage ready to ship out to the Filmed By Bike jury.

And then, back in February, they told me I was in!  Now I've been running around bragging that I have a short film showing in an international film festival in the US.  Feels nice.

The Filmed By Bike festival kicks off on Friday, April 15 in Portland with what is, by all accounts, a rockin' street party.  Saturday and Sunday follow with multiple programs of short films: all bikes, all screens, all the time.  If you're anywhere near Portland, and you happen to stumble across this tiny corner of the wide world of the web, the coincidence is too great for inaction: I command you - GO!  Preferably on a bike, with as many passengers as possible.

If you're not in Portland, I'll be putting my little bike-themed short up on YouTube, or somewhere similar, sometime after the raucous crowds have departed from my film festival debut.

My friend Mike Vogel has a film in there as well, "Right Hook;" it's ridiculously good, so if you're lucky enough to be in Portland April 15 - 17, make sure you see it too.

Then catch a passing truck for an easy ride back home.

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