Bike culture explored at Projecting Change Film Festival

Catch Tales of a Yellow Bike at the Projecting Change Film Festival.

Credit: Courtesy Tina Hahn

Curious what a bike’s-eye-view of the world looks like?

If so, check out Toronto-based director Tina Hahn’s documentary Tales of a Yellow Bike. She’s screening the film and hosting a community dialogue on April 3 for the Projecting Change Film Festival.

The film follows Hahn, Maogosha Pyjor (manager of Toronto’s Bike Share Program) and Lady Klien (the yellow bike) to Europe, North America, Columbia and China as they explore sustainable transportation. They found the benefits of bike-sharing stretches beyond tough lungs: the film touches on everything from environmental impacts to reductions in crime.

Projecting Change Film Festival

Tales of a Yellow Bike is playing at the Projecting Change Film Festival at the Ridge Theatre April 2–5. The event pairs film screenings with discussions between audiences, filmmakers and guest speakers.

It features films that promote social change and sustainability, with profits invested in local initiatives like SAWA Global, Kids Up Front and Impossible2Possible.

• Watch the preview for Tales of a Yellow Bike on the film’s Facebook Page
• View the full festival schedule, including trailers.
• Visit the festival’s Facebook page
• Get festival details like schedule info and tickets for your iPhone
• Follow the festival’s postings on Twitter

Hahn’s favourite place was Bogotá, Columbia, where the city transforms more than 100 kilometres of roads every Sunday to recreation lanes for bikes, skateboards, rollerblades and pedestrians. She said the effect is amazing—along with a reduction in emissions, the policy may have helped decrease crime.

“Bogotá had problems with violence, but if you’re beside millions of people on the street, you feel safe and empowered… [Policy-makers are also] using bikes to bridge the divide between classes. It’s an equality tool. There’s no difference between a person on a $3,000 bike and one on a $30 bike—both will stop and talk and wave.” —filmmaker Tina Hahn


“In our society, where only a minority of households owns a car, 35 percent of conflict often arises due to limited resources and lack of space for pedestrians and bicycles… To have infrastructure to protect cyclists is not some cute architectural feature. It’s a right. Unless you think that only those people who have a car have a right to safe mobility, to mobility without getting killed.” —Enrique Peñalosa, former mayor of Bogotá, quoted in the film

The film’s concept evolved from its initial conception, in part because its topic—the non-profit Toronto Bike Share program—lost funding. Hahn pointed out the irony of the program being refused support on the grounds of sustainability: since a bike’s initial carbon footprint is zero, bike share programs don’t demonstrate any quantifiable reduction in emissions.

“The film focuses on changes from the top rather than the bottom. We visited government leaders to find examples of how change happens because of political commitment.” —Tina Hahn

Hahn said to look out for highlights:
• 5,000 bikes in a single shot: just part of a fleet of 20,000 bikes launched in Paris for its bike-sharing program.
• A 35–40 person-strong youth ride through the busy streets of central Manhattan

Cut scenes—which may be included in the DVD version of the film—include the story of a “ghost bike” and a Toronto gangster with a heart of gold. Tales of a Yellow Bike was produced for OMNI Television and will be screening at the Fifth Avenue Theatres April 3 at 4:00 pm.
Hahn is also working with the Canadian Institute of Planners and ARTE France to develop the film’s concepts into the Green City Challenge, an interactive online game. The team is presently looking for a funding model.