There are two things you should know about this year’s Toronto Motorcycle Film Festival (TMFF). First, there are some ripping good ADV films in the lineup. Second, all the festival’s catalogue will be available online this year.
Caius Tenche, the festival’s creative director, says this year’s films aren’t geo-restricted, meaning people can tune in and watch them from anywhere in the world.
“We are known across the globe, but people have never been able to attend, unless they come here physically,” says Tenche. “This opens that up, that possibility to check out movies online regardless of where you’re at. That’s kind of exciting, I think.”
The Toronto Motorcycle Film Festival, founded in 2017, usually runs in late September or early October in Toronto’s Roncesvalles Village neighbourhood, at the Revue Cinema. It’s usually a three-day affair, with multiple showtimes each day. For the past couple of years, festival organizers have had art displays, live Q&A with the filmmakers and other fun things to see and do between showtimes. That’s not happening this year. Due to pandemic regulations, organizers wouldn’t have enough to prepare the cinema for a second showing each day.
“We have 10 features this year, and 10 shorts,” says Tenche. “We won’t be able to fit all of those in.” As a result, this year there will only a single showtime on October 1, 2, and 3, screening selected films (at least, that’s the plan for now). Although only a few of the films will play in theatre, the entire film catalogue will be available online through the whole October 1-10 festival.
There’s no doubt that an online film festival will be a different experience, but festival organizers have already run trial showings online, learning the tricks to hosting a film festival over the Internet, and getting a feel for the different experience.
Tenche says it was fun to watch the films together, and chat about them while viewing. Talking in a theatre is very bad form, but online chatting about the movies added to the feeling of community, he says. That’s something very welcome in today’s era of social distancing. Even though this festival won’t have the same vibe as previous years, the online experience still allowed them to connect and share their emotions and thoughts about what they were seeing.
This year’s film lineup
So, what’s playing this year? The TMFF always has a wide range of films from all over the world, covering every aspect of motorcycling. The stereotype is that motorcycle film festivals focus on hipster navel-gazing and gonzo admiration of one-percenters, but the TMFF has a lot more than that, including some very interesting adventure riding films.
This year’s festival is the world premiere for Canadian filmmaker Blake Sovdi’s A Road Less Travelled. This 15-minute documentary details Sovdi’s 1,000 km trip from Fort McMurray, Alberta to Fort Smith, North West Territories on Canadian ice roads (a theme the festival has seen before, as the northern ice roads just might be the last frontier for adventure motorcyclists—and they’re in Canada’s back yard).
A thousand klicks down frozen ice roads might sound gnarly, but what about floating around, lost in the ocean for days on a homemade raft? Dylan Wickrama’s When The Road Ends – Lost In The Pacific is the self-filmed story of an attempt to get around the Darien Gap on minimal budget. Wickrama’s plan to float his motorcycle from Panama to Colombia goes seriously awry, but thankfully, he’s made a 93-minute feature about the adventure, at least.
Maybe you’re not into ice roads, or boating trips gone wrong? If you want a more conventional travel story, there’s The Scramblers: A Motorcycle Journey, a 65-minute doc from director Yvan Belaieff. This covers a trip through 41 countries and every continent, putting down 85,000 kilometres over two years.
Well-known filmmaker Daniel Rintz has Somewhere Else Together screening at the festival, as its North American premiere. Rintz’s first film Somewhere Else Tomorrow was a hit with festival audience and ADVers, and this follow-up piece is apparently stuffed with fun–if you think being chased by wild elephants, or being caught in the crossfire of a police-smuggler gunfight is fun.
If you’re an all-round motorcycle fan, not just interested in knobbies and long-travel suspension, Spaghetti Racing (aka Romagna Racing in other countries) looks like it should be a fascinating watch. The festival is also the world premiere for the Space Between (produced by Tom Brady’s new filmmaking company!), a documentary about the Isle of Man TT. This should make for an excellent film—it’s pretty hard to make the IOMTT boring.
And, one other film that’s quirky, but with a heartwarming story: Biker Bob’s Posthumous Adventure. We’ve already discussed this film on ADVrider, and even though it isn’t about dirt riding, it should prove the spirit of adventure lives in all motorcyclists, sometimes even beyond the grave.
For a look at this year’s full lineup, visit the festival’s website. There’s a rundown of each film, and trailers for most of them at the site.
How do I watch?
The Toronto Motorcycle Film Festival teamed up with Eventive to deliver this year’s movie lineup. Eventive has apps for smart TVs (Apple TV, Android TV, Roku) and you can also watch on your mobile device or computer using a web browser.
In-person tickets for the showings at the Revue are coming in September, but you can buy the online pass already. The TMFF has its 10-day online festival pass marked down to $60 CAD right now; check out the festival’s website for full details.