Two movies get world premieres at ’22 Toronto Motorcycle Film Festival

This year's TMFF festival starts early with Douglas MacRae's month-long Breath of Life exhibition at the Birch Contemporary, starting September 8. More details below. Photo: TMFF/Douglas MacRae

Summer is winding down, and that’s a real bummer for Canadian motorcyclists—but at least we have the Toronto Motorcycle Film Festival to look forward to this fall.

As usual, this year’s event will run out of the Revue Cinema in Toronto’s Roncesvalles Village. If you can’t make it to the October 6-8 showing dates, don’t worry; there’s also an online viewing option as well. As well, the festival is going on the road this year, with dates in Calgary (October 12-13), Montreal (Nov. 4-5) and Vancouver (TBD). More details on that to come.

TMFF organizers have started rolling out their 2022 film lineup, and that lineup includes international premieres once again. This year, we see two such films.

The first one is Speed is Expensive, written and directed by David Lancaster, and narrated by Ewan McGregor. TMFF says “David Lancaster’s award-winning documentary about the life of Philip Vincent will make its International Premiere at TMFF. Narrated by Ewan McGregor and including interviews with John Surtees (F1 and Moto GP World Champion), Jay Leno, and Paul Simonon (The Clash), Speed is Expensive covers one of the most dramatic stories in motorcycle history – the rise and the fall of the Vincent motorcycle.”

This year’s TMFF is also the international premiere for Harley a la Cubana: “Vintage Harley-Davidson motorcycles from the 30s and 40s are still rumbling through the streets of Cuba – restored to their full glory and painstakingly maintained. Fito Pochat’s Harley a la Cubana follows a few select mechanics who dedicate their life’s work to keep these old motorcycles running using a hodgepodge of salvaged parts and handmade makeshift solutions.

The TMFF has been dealing with COVID restrictions for the past couple of years, and we expect a great turnout this October as we return to normal. Stay tuned to CMG for more details.

Photo: TMFF

Art and Moto at the Birch Contemporary

Of course, the TMFF is all about the intersection of art and motorcycling; there’s another tie-in between these worlds coming up in the GTA, and the TMFF is helping promote it. There’s an exhibition of Douglas MacRae’s work at the Birch Contemporary starting September 8. If you’re not familiar with MacRae or his work, here’s a quick description from the TMFF:

“Breath of Life showcases Doug’s two passions: motorcycles and travel. At first blush these may seem incongruous, when in fact, they go hand in hand. We travel to explore, to seek and immerse ourselves in new cultures and experiences. And motorcycle riding is arguably the most immersive form travel. It is a visceral experience that activates all senses – you’re not just travelling through space and time, you are truly in it and hyper focused in the moment. It is the breath that gives life.”

Of course, in-the-know readers should recognize MacRae’s name from his artistic work as well as his distinguished riding career, but if you aren’t familiar, here’s what the TMFF says:

“Douglas MacRae is a Toronto-based painter, photographer, motorcycle racer and world traveller. His career began designing album covers and painting photo-realistic murals of musicians including Annie Lennox, U2, and Celine Dion in New York and throughout North America, and his 20-foot Pre-Raphaelite style paintings grace the Liberty Grand in Toronto.

Doug’s work expanded to international travel photography producing various campaigns in India, Peru, Kenya, Morocco, Italy, France and other iconic destinations, garnering awards from Marketing Magazine, Canadian Association of Professional Image Creators, and Lux.

His passion for motorcycle racing, with wins at Daytona, Mid-Ohio, Barber and a three-time AMA Grand Vintage Champion, evolved into photography with various editorial features in motorcycle magazines and Taschen’s upcoming Ultimate Collector Motorcycles book.

In 2019, Doug was diagnosed with glioblastoma (GBM), an incurable stage four brain cancer and was given a twelve-month survival prognosis. Less than 12% of GBM patients worldwide survive three years. After two brain surgeries, he has now survived 42 months.”

A quick scan at the art that’s featured on the TMFF site here says this is a show we’d very, very much like to attend. For more info, check out, and remember, the exhibit opens September 8 with an RSVP reception (special guest racer Dave Roper!).

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