Photo still from Field Guide to November Days.
"Field Guide to November Days" is a new film by Portland filmmakers Mary DeFreese and Nick Peterson that I really want to see. Not just because its two protagnists live a biking life (and the directors shot most of the film by bike). It's also because DeFreese and Peterson are taking their 10-city film tour to show the movie at art film theaters, by bicycles. They started on June 10 from Vancouver, B.C. and will end in San Diego July 10.
"There have been some scary things," said DeFreese of the cycling film tour thus far. "In Tacoma, I thought someone was throwing firecrackers at us until I started riding over spent gunshells. Shortly after that, to save some time, we rode 11 miles on I-5 during rush hour. That was intense. I almost saw Nick get creamed by a truck and we ended that day's ride with a strong desire for whiskey and long hugs with the people we love."
"Field Guide to November Days" doesn't have any overtly eco-themes besides the biking lifestyles of its main characters, but in this inteview in Just Out, De Freese says that their decision to do most of their shooting for the film on and with bicycles was due in part to the non-green aspects of filmmaking.
"...Film is a very wasteful industry. Lots of chemicals involved in processing, lots of disposable food products on sets and disposable attitudes. We have always costumed and dressed our sets with second-hand goods and we wanted to continue that sustainable practice by using bikes."
DeFreese and Peterson managed to make just one trip by car to Oregon's coast to film - all other locations were reached by bike. They even did all pre-production work and prop procurement by bike.
In Portland, movie making is intricately tied to biking - during Pedalpalooza we had Bike Porn, earlier this spring Filmed By Bike and the Bicycle Film Festival. So it's nothing new for offbeat filmakers to feature cycles. It is still novel to film by bicycle, however. Though some critics have slammed "Field Guide" as a paean to Portland's 20-something sexually insecure "Regressors" it looks like a visually stunning (there is hardly any dialogue) slice of culture worth checking out if De Freese and Peterson happen to roll through your town.