The Independents 

This week’s films are all made (or restored) by small teams of very independent film enthusiasts who are crazy about motorcycles.  These are the cutting edge of moto-culture in the 21st Century, exploring their unique place in the contemporary world, and common love for two wheels.  These are not grand narratives with Hollywood trappings, but were made or restored as passion projects, and gifts to their motorcycling family.

All of the proceeds of these sales go directly to the filmmakers – except those who have made them available for the duration of the Pandemic!  Many thanks!

1. Greasy Hands Preachers (2014)

“The bikes I produce should be a part of me. This is why I must improve my inner self, to make my bikes better.” – Shinya Kimura

Shinya Kimura features prominently in ‘GHP’: here he pushes the Spike across the Bonneville Salt Flats. [Greasy Hands Preachers]

Clement Beauvais & Arthur de Kersauson’s alt-custom documentary film explores the passion for craft among motorcycle enthusiasts who have found their way to a happy life. Shot in 16mm in California, Utah, Indonesia, Spain, Scotland and France, the team  spent time with mechanics and custom shop founders, trying to understand the difference between manual work and intellectual work.  The film includes interviews with Shinya Kimura, Deus X Machina, Roland Sands, El Solitario, and Blitz Motorcycles, who discuss the unique satisfactions of doing something tangible, including a unique sense of time, the relation between the form and the function, the joy of riding in a beautiful landscape and the community and friendship that motorcycle creates. Watch ‘Greasy Hands Preachers’ FREE during The Pandemic. 

2. I Fidanzeati Della Morte (Engaged To Death)

“I’ve had enough of slowing down during races – slowing down and letting others win!”

With the finest racing motorcycles in the world from the 1950s captured on the big screen, you have NO EXCUSE to miss this incredible film! [Rodaggio Films]
A tale of love, rivalry and passion set in the 50s, in the madcap world of motorcycle speed races, shot on the occasion of the main competitions of that time, such as Monza’s Moto GP and the last edition of the legendary Milano-Taranto race. With also very rare footage of the Moto Guzzi wind tunnel and factories. The film features, alongside popular actors Rik Battaglia and Sylva Koscina, many of the most important champions of those years: Geoffrey Duke, Libero Liberati, Bill Lomas, Enrico Lorenzetti, Reg Armstrong, Stanley Woods, Ken Cavanagh, Dickie Dale, Thomas Campbell, Pierre Monneret, Albino Milani, Walter Zeller, Bruno Francisci, all of them riding amazing Moto Guzzi, Gilera, Mondial and Norton bikes with the so charming and dangerous dustbin fairings that were going to be banned in 1958.

Beautiful color, beautiful bikes, beautiful shots. [Rodaggio Films]
“I fidanzati della morte” is a movie shot in the motorcycle racing world by Romolo Marcellini, famous for his Oscar nomineé 1960 documentary “The Great Olympics”. The film has been forgotten for nearly 60 years. After its first release in 1957 it literally vanished without leaving a trace, except from some books and articles reminding of it as the “first great motorcycling movie”. It took the Rodaggio Film two years to recover the reels and to retrace the film rights history. The restoration started on a positive copy coming from the main italian film archive. After some time the precious original negative, once thought lost in a fire, has been found in laboratory in Rome. Unluckily the film material was partially burned, but most of it was in good condition and has been used as the main reference for the restoration process. The film has been first phisically repaired, then digitally scanned, cleaned frame by frame and color corrected. The sound has been digitally restored and improved as well. All the restoration process has been completed in the world famous Immagine Ritrovata Laboratory, in Bologna.

Gilera Quattro versus Moto Guzzi factory single…amazing footage! [Rodaggio Film]
A movie like no other in its genre, recovered and restored after 60 years from its release thanks to a successful crowdfunding campaign with donors from 22 Countries, which bears unique witness to the international motorcycling’s golden age and to an exceptional season of Italian excellence, innovations and challenges in the thrilling world of two wheels. Watch ‘I Fidanzeati Della Morte’ for $7.99 on Vimeo.

3. Fast & Left

“As soon as they got a motor on a set of bicycle wheels, racing was on!”

‘Fast and Left’ captures the spirit of flat track racers in the USA. [Evan Senn]
Evan H. Senn is a camera-operator and film editor residing in Wichita, Kansas. His love for flat-track racing inspired this project, following American Flat Track and Hooligan racing and producing spectacular shots of the racers and the action.  Senn dedicates the film to ” the riders who keep this wonderful sport alive.”  ‘Fast&Left’ is a unique film on a unique sport, and was entirely self-funded. Watch ‘Fast & Left’ for $3.00 on Vimeo.

4. Dirtbag 

“Can you build a chopper in under a month for under a thousand dollars?

The event that lives up to the hype, the Dirtbag Challenge is rough and ready. [Rattler Productions]
Paolo Asuncion and his team at Rattler Productions (Luis Baptista, Frank Pascual, and Erik Pascual) have been making moto-centric home movies and documentaries 10 years in San Francisco. Their fascination with the local motorcycle culture inspired them to capture local events as sort of a video diary.   Their web-based series ‘The Handsome Asians Motorcycle Club’ features builds, rides, and individuals in the motorcycle community and  stories about life on two wheels.

If you paid $5 for a used tire, I suppose there’s no harm in ruining it in a spectacular display…the chaos of the Dirtbag Challenge. [Rattler Productions]
‘Dirtbag’ explores the question, ‘Can you build a chopper in under a month for under a thousand dollars?’ The Dirtbag Challenge is an annual San Francisco motorcycle contest,  and means different things to different people who participate or spectate.  In ‘Dirtbag’, we meet the builders participating in the Dirtbag Challenge, and witness the talent and passion that goes into the birth of their one of a kind creations. Get an inside look at their motivations, their machines, and the event. Find out what makes these Dirtbags… anything but. Watch ‘Dirtbag’ FREE during The Pandemic Thanks to the filmmaker!

5. Dirtbag II: The Return Of The Rattler

Come for the bikes, stay for the outrageous musical sequence! 

The Rattler team move in front of the camera: embedded Gonzo journalism? [Rattler Productions]
The sequel to ‘Dirtbag’ follows four men with no motorcycle-building experience who decide to participate in the Dirtbag Challenge in San Francisco. Contestants in the challenge have one month to build a working and rideable chopper for less than $1000. Contestants must then ride their beast 100 miles without it breaking down. Seems like a simple enough task for seasoned bike builders… But what if one group of contestants had zero experience bike building? What would happen?

Too good to miss, the Rattler team takes to the stage as their alter-ego rock stars. [Rattler Productions]
The movie is a hilarious look into four inexperienced bike builders as they construct their ‘Rattler’, their custom chopper that started as a beat up Yamaha XS650. Watch as the protagonists cuss, laugh, and argue their way through a unique and fresh learning experience. This movie is not necessarily about the Dirtbag Challenge, but the teamwork and creativity that goes into building a bike. Dirtbag II features builds from other contestants in the challenge – a Honda CM400 with modified beer bottles for headlamps, a 750 Monster with a girder front end – and encourages viewers to get out there are start creating, regardless of prior experience. It’s a punk rock ethos, with a punk rock soundtrack. Watch ‘Dirtbag II’ FREE during The Pandemic thanks to the filmmakers!  

Corinna Mantlo is the Editor for Film at The Vintagent. She is also the owner / lead designer at custom seat maker Via Meccanica. She is also the founder of both Cine Meccanica and the Motorcycle Film Festival. She has contributed to several books, including “The Chopper; The Real Story” (Gestalten 2014) by Paul d’Orleans. In her spare time, Corinna travels as a professional daredevil with the American Motor Drome Co. Wall Of Death.