Poster with a bicycle made out of shapes on a blue background

Poster for Bicycle Film Festival Nanaimo / Image via the City of Nanaimo

Do you like cycling? How about film? If you said yes to either, then the Bicycle Film Festival (BFF) is for you. The festival is stopping at VIU’s Nanaimo campus this Saturday, October 1 with evening screenings in Malaspina Theatre.

The BFF started in New York in 2001. It’s been to over 100 cities worldwide, featuring live music, art, and films from across the globe. This week’s showing coincides with the City of Nanaimo’s Fall GoByBike (October 3-16).

Founding director Brendt Barbur got the idea for the BFF after being hit by a bus while cycling. He decided to turn his negative experience into a chance for people to tell positive ones.

“I want to show people how wonderful cycling is,” Barbur said in an interview. “And I thought, ‘What better way to do that than through stories?’”

The BFF is featuring short films on different topics related to biking. Below are some selections Barbur highlighted:

“The Climb,” which inspired the 2019 feature film of the same name, focuses on two cyclists whose friendship is jeopardized by a shocking confession. “All Bodies on Bikes” is about Marley Blonsky’s mission to make cycling more inclusive for all body types.

“Lagos BMX Crew” chronicles the birth of the BMX scene in Nigeria. “Mama Agatha” sees the title character teaching refugee women in Amsterdam how to ride bikes.

There will also be film selections from BC. “On Falling,” from Vancouver-based filmmaker Josephine Anderson, shines a spotlight on female mountain bikers and their willingness to fall. “Through the East Kootenays” follows Ralph Samson and Alex Cormier as they cycle on The BC Trail.

Barbur hopes people will enjoy the festival and leave feeling uplifted. “I hope the crowd really comes out of there, thinking, ‘Wow, I love the idea of biking.’”

He also encourages non-cyclists to attend.

“Anybody who just wants to go see the film festival, I think they’re gonna see some amazing human stories and be inspired.”

The pre-event, sponsored by Modo Carshare, is free to attend and begins at 4:30 pm in the parking lot outside the Welcome Centre. There will be food trucks, e-bike trials, and information on sustainable initiatives and electric transportation. A Bike Valet will be available for attendees arriving by bike.

Malaspina Theatre will open its doors at 6:30 pm, and the film screenings will kick off with an opening address at 6:45 pm. Tickets are currently on sale for $15 per person. To purchase, visit Eventbrite.


Sophia is a fourth-year Creative Writing and Journalism student. She was the News Editor for The Navigator last year. Outside of The Nav, Sophia volunteers with VIU Cultural Connections as a Peer Helper. Three things she wants to do in the future are: travel to Japan and Korea, attend a Stray Kids concert, and adopt one or two black cats.

Let's Make Things Official

Get a curated list of articles sent directly to your email once a week. It’s not delivery, its Delissio