You’re looking forward to the Toronto Motorcycle Film Festival. You’ve got your tickets, got the dates marked in your calendar. Now, here’s a look at what’s running this fall.
The Toronto Motorcycle Film Festival runs October 3-6 at the Revue Cinema, at 400 Roncesvalles Ave. There will be 17 films at this year’s festival, including a mix of features and shorts, both documentaries and narratives.
Here’s a list of what to expect, with the film descriptions taken from the TMFF website.
Blenio, Utah (57 minutes, feature documentary): “For over 100 years the dry salt-lake bed in Bonneville, Utah, awaits patiently the yearly pilgrimage of motorcycles who come to try to set world land-speed records. In 2017, among the hundreds of racers present, there was also a young butcher from Olivone, a small Swiss town with a population of 800 people. Tiziano Vescovi, despite having no previous experience, has always dreamed of going to Bonneville and leaving his mark. With support from the Blenio Valley team, they prep a motorcycle and try to secure a land-speed record title.”
Blue Mountains in the Arctic (27 minutes, short documentary): “Emil and his friend Mathias travel to Scandinavia’s most northern point, North Cape; Nordkapp in Norway, the northernmost point in Europe that can be accessed by car and the northernmost public road in Europe. On the way to see the midnight sun, they encounter breathtakingly beautiful roads but less than ideal weather.”
Crown Land (6 minutes, short narrative): A short independent film about friendship, adventure and motorcycling.
Destination Guatemala (9 minutes, short documentary): There’s a feeling some of us chase. It’s an inability to settle. If you’ve felt it, you’ll understand what drove three friends to take on a dream they’ve had for many years, riding up to a live volcano. They journeyed from the villages outside of Antigua, to the Pacific Ocean, through jungles, and onto the Volcano Pacaya. Continuing to its highest peak, Pico Mayor, they ride up to the arc of Acatenango; something that had never been done before.
The Distinguished Gentleman (17 minutes, short documentary): On February 2019, Vincent Nicolai, a beloved charity fundraiser and friend to many in the New York motorcycle community, was involved in a catastrophic propane explosion. As Vincent single-handedly rushed to put out the fire in his garage, flames burned over 40% of his body. It nearly took his life. This film is about the power of community in the face of hardship.
Endless | Iceland (5 minutes, short narrative): With tongue-in-cheek humour, freestyle motocross rider Jimmy Hill pulls technical tricks and nohanders through Iceland’s black sand beaches. abundant glacial masses and grey overcast skies.
Endless | Mexico (5 minutes, short narrative): Endless | Mexico follows freestyle motocross rider Jimmy Hill in Guadalajara, Mexico during the Dia De Los Muertos festival. Inspired by the city’s landscape and more so the people, traditions, and culture that make Guadalajara such a unique destination to visit, Jimmy explores the city via dirt bike and all that the festival has to offer.
Escape the City Limits (6 minutes, short narrative): It’s time to take the road. The perfect moment to break the routine and leave behind our everyday life. The city is still asleep and its tranquility doesn’t seem to be troubled by the machine roaring through. This short movie is, according to its Producers, the perfect illustration of what a motorcycle all about. The attachment to these exciting machines is sometimes a bit temperamental but the best for initiating new friendships, to share an unforgettable moment and to enjoy, in a unique way, the freedom offered by the two wheels.
Fast and Left (21 minutes, short documentary): The arena is a dirt oval. The gladiators have a steel-shoe over their left boot that keeps them and their motorcycles balanced at high speeds. Every weekend, they travel great distances for the opportunity to pass the checkered flag first. This is flat track motorcycle racing. Flat track is one of the oldest forms of motorcycle racing and it has a rich history in the United States. Perhaps even more captivating than the bikes and the speeds however are the people that make up this exciting sport.
First Ride (4 minutes, short narrative): Do you remember the first time you rode a motorcycle? Your first bike? That magical moment became a lifetime memory. First Ride acts out the imagination of one boy discovering motorcycles. One child whose life is forever changed. The film was produced for the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame Class of 2018 induction ceremony, and aimed to inspire a future hall-of-famer rather than celebrate the present inductees.
Jane Love (5 minutes, short documentary): Jane Love is a short documentary about female power. The film situates itself between the memories and desires of Jane Love, a young woman who’s rejection of her conservative Southern upbringing has introduced her to the moody world of New York City motorcycle culture. Described with visual poetry and a fluid take on documentary form, her story is as much an analysis of journey as it is a love letter to the city that has given her the room to grow and explore without judgement or prohibition.
Motorcycle Man (32 minutes, short documentary): Dave Roper has raced every year since 1972, competing on exotic vintage bikes at racetracks around the world and winning a reputation as a folk hero of the sport. But Roper is hardly an adrenaline addict. He takes a philosophical approach to racing, viewing it as a test of mental and physical abilities. Motorcycle Man follows Roper from a workshop in Brooklyn to his home on Long Island to the Canadian Tire Motorsport Park (ex Mosport) racetrack in Canada. Along the way he encounters autograph-seeking admirers, old friends and fellow racers eager to test their skills on the track. It also delves into Roper’s past, including his historic win at the Isle of Man TT in 1984, when he became the first American ever to win the notoriously dangerous race. As he enters his twilight years, Roper reflects on the unconventional path he has followed in life, the dangers he has faced and the choices he has made.
Nowhere Fast (24 minutes, short documentary): Nowhere Fast is a short film about two friends riding adventure motorcycles across the Utah desert. Its a wild ride through some of the most rugged and beautiful country in the great Southwest. Some of the highlights of the trip include the Burr Trail, Canyonlands National Park, Capitol Reef National Park, and the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area.
The Racer (13 minutes, short documentary): Jodie first rode a motorcycle at the age of five, a give from her father, Garfield. At 25 she is one of the most competitive riders in the UK, setting track records all over Britain but her dream is to be the first woman to win a British CB500 championship. But the road to reaching the top is paved with difficulties, if it wasn’t for her dad’s unwavering support.
They Call Me Cheetah (4 minutes, short documentary): A visual poem about motorcycle builder Toshiyuki Osawa and the 1944 Indian Chief, named “Silver Arrow”, he built for Larry Smith and unveiled at Born Free Motorcycle Show. Famed motorcycle builders Shinya Kimura and Mitsuhiro Kiyonaga opine on the build and the spirit of Japanese craftsmanship and its place in the international motorcycle community.
WAYNE (97 minutes, feature documentary): WAYNE is the near improbable true story of Wayne Gardner. Wayne’s remarkable journey takes him from the working-class town of Wollongong, Australia and his first motorcycle, a $5 dirt bike, to the pinnacle of his sport where in 1987 Wayne becomes the first Australian to win the World Motorcycle Grand Prix, and with it, the hearts of all Australians. At its heart WAYNE is also a love story, with girlfriend, Donna-Lee Kahlbetzer, never far from the action.