Bicycle Film Festival…Next Stop Minneapolis, July 8th-12th

This is the 4th year in a row the BFF has hit Minneapolis, which has often been rated one of the top places to bike in America.

I had a nice chat with Amy Kuretsky, who is organizing the festival for the Minneapolis leg.

—-Name, Age, Where do yo live (ride)

Amy Kuretsky, 26, south-side of Minneapolis

What bikes do you own?

My daily ride is a Bianchi Pista, but I also have a Schwinn ladies cruiser from the 50’s, and a single speed made up of all dumpstered parts that a friend built for me several years back after a bike of mine got stolen.

What will be your next bike purchase?

I’ve been lusting after the Swobo Baxter for a while now…

What is the bike culture scene like in Minneapolis (I know that’s a complicated one…just a general overview)
Messengers? Alleycats? Polo? Mutant bikes?

There’s a bit of everything. There’s some study somewhere that ranks Minneapolis as the number two city behind Portland for commuters by bike. So there’s a ton of suburbanites that wear spandex that you see all over the roadways. But other than that there’s a strong urban bike culture here. It helps having QBP (makers of Surly, Salsa, All City, etc) close by. Minneapolis has more Surly Steamrollers on the roads than you can shake a stick at. There have been a lot of alley cats for the last several years, but just recently Minneapolis has started to have a small bike polo crew.

Has there been a Bicycle Film Festival in Minneapolis? If so how was it received?

This will be the fourth year that Minneapolis will host the BFF. Every year it gets bigger, better, and crazier. Last year our post party Saturday night went until 5:30am. I plan on being sleep deprived until next week.

Looks like a jam packed weekend? Give us the rundown on what is going on?

This is our longest festival we’ve ever put on here. It starts off on Wed with No Age playing the bikes rock show. Then Thursday through Saturday are films with afterparties each of the nights. Our hometown computer/bike nerds Coldsprints will be putting on a roller race championship Friday night. Saturday during the day will have an alleycat and then Saturday night is a party in the alley at One on One and then for those who somehow aren’t hung over on Sunday there is a MPLS polo tourney.

Who will be coming to the festival, Will we see new faces?

Everyone. No really, we get a wide variety of the cycling community to come out for the BFF every year. Thursday night our films are shown at this ridiculously awesome art deco single screen movie theater called the Riverview, and that always draws some of the neighborhood families and local cinephiles.

Are their any local films and if so what are they about?

Actually, this year there are three local films. Something Bright to be Seen in Our World directed by Mike Hazard and Emily Rumsey, A Gentleman Never Sweats by Alice Shindelar, and Down by the Weep Hole: The Story of the Stupor Bowl directed by Nathaniel Freeman. The Stuporbowl movie is the one that nearly everyone in the bike community is clammoring to see. It documents the coldest and generally most intoxicated alley cat that gets put on every year here in Minneapolis. That race is legendary.

What do you hope people will ride away with from the BFF this year? How will it impact the biking community and culture around?

I hope that people get inspired to make their own bike movie. Even if they’ve never done any filming or editing before. I want to see more films from Minneapolis especially.

Whats it like to ride a bike in Minn.? Is their infrastructure? Has the city been responsive to the rise in popularity of cycling? What needs improving the most?

It can be fantastic and it can be really frustrating. There is an amazing rails to trails system here in Minneapolis. We have some of the most interconnected trail system around. There are definitely some places that need improvement though (downtown, campus, etc). This past year has seen the largest increase in bicycle related deaths in our community and it’s really shaken everyone up. The city is being pretty responsive though. We were lucky enough to be one of the cities to receive federal grant money for the Non-Motorized Transportation Pilot Program so there are five people who are employed by the city and all they work on are bike related projects.

Is there Critical Mass in Minn? Whats the level of Car vs Cyclist perspectives in general?

Critical Mass meets the last Friday of every month at 5:30pm in Loring Park! The perspective is pretty bad. There was a big blow up between Critical Mass and some drivers and then the cops a few years back and then there was a big backlash from the bike community. Since then it’s gotten a bit better for Critical Mass, but individual cyclists still have it pretty bad. Just the other day I had an old man yell “CUNT!!” at me over an over after he almost clipped me with his F-150. Fun times….

Are their favorite biker hang outs in Minneapolis? Any bike cooperatives, non profits? Bike organizations?

If you’re ever in downtown Minneapolis over the lunch hour, stop by One on One bike shop. They’ve got a cafe with coffee and lunch items and you’re sure to run into a bunch of messengers while you eat a delicious lunch. On the west bank of campus there’s the Hub which is a great bike co-op and the Grease Pit which is a collectively run free bike shop that will help you fix your own bike. There are so many non-profits and organizations related to cycling I don’t even know where to begin. Minneapolis has a really great cycling community that is really self propelled…we like to take care of each other.

Favorite biker bars?

Grumpys for stiff drinks and Karoke, the Sunrise for a 3.2 bar, Palmers for when you’re any of the BLBC, Pizza Luce downtown to find the messengers after work…I could go on and on …

Future plans biking events in Minn?

On August 22nd Bike Jerks are putting on they’re annual All-City Championship alley cat. Jeff puts on some of the best alley cats ever I can’t wait to see what he’s got up his sleeve for this year.

Your future cycling goals?
Somehow I’ve still never biked to Stillwater (Wisconsin). It’s almost like a right of passage here in Minneapolis. I really would like to do that before the summer here is over.

Anything you wished I’d asked you?
I’m suprised you’re not like every other New Yorker that asks me why I didn’t get Prince to play…

2 comments to Bicycle Film Festival…Next Stop Minneapolis, July 8th-12th