The Program

 

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I’ve shied away from showing anything to do with the doped up Texan but this film based on David Walsh’s dogged pursuit of the truth is worth a screening I reckon.

From Academy Award nominated director Stephen Frears (The Queen, Philomena) and producers Working Title Films (The Theory Of Everything, Everest, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy), comes the true story of the meteoric rise and fall of one of the most celebrated and controversial men in recent history; Lance Armstrong,. The world needs heroes and Lance Armstrong was the ultimate sporting hero. Following a gruelling battle with cancer, Lance returned to his cycling career in 1999 more determined than ever and with his sights set firmly on winning the Tour de France. With the help of the infamous Italian physician Michele Ferrari and team director Johan Bruyneel, he developed the most sophisticated doping program in the history of the sport. This program allowed Lance and his American teammates to dominate the world of cycling, winning the Tour an unprecedented seven times. However not everyone believed the fairytale…Sunday Times journalist, David Walsh, at first charmed by Lance’s charisma and talent, soon began to question whether the ‘world’s greatest athlete’ was ‘clean’. Walsh sought to unveil the truth, his ensuing battle with Armstrong risked his own career, ostracised him from the cycling community and cost his paper, The Sunday Times, hundreds of thousands in legal costs. But the indefatigable Walsh eventually uncovered the truth when a select few prepared to talk came forward, exposing one of the greatest deceptions of our time. Inspired by the award winning book ‘Seven Deadly Sins’ by David Walsh, and featuring a stellar cast including Ben Foster (Lone Survivor), Chris O’Dowd (Calvary), Guillaume Canet (Tell No One) and Jesse Plemons (Breaking Bad), THE PROGRAM is a tense and suspenseful thriller.

Date: Monday 21 May at 7pm

Venue: The Reliance, 76-78 North Street, Leeds, LS2 7PN

Cost £6 in advance (tickets can be bought via the Eventbrite link and ticket price includes Eventbrite fee).

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A Winter of Cyclists

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I’m sitting writing this as snow lays on the ground in March after the ‘Beast from the East’ has blanketed Britain and made transport somewhat tricky.  I’m not a fair weather cyclist as such but I certainly have ridden less this winter than normal.  Sometimes I find it easy to summon my Flandrian spirit and head out but often I find other methods of getting to work.  I don’t generally mind the weather if heading out on the mountain bike but commuting is a different beast altogether.

I therefore thought, as we hopefully head for a thaw, that it was a good time to show A Winter of Cyclists, a film that will help me (and hopefully you) reflect on your cycling and gain some inspiration from people who ride where it’s seriously cold.  The documentary film chronicles a group of Colorado participants as they attempt to complete a 52-day winter cycling commuting challenge created by Scot Stucky.

The challenge, known as “The Icy Bike Winter Commuting Challenge”, was created to encourage people to cycle to work from October to March, during the darker, colder and the snowier months of the year.

The film captures the wide diversity in which riders adapt to new commuting logistics, adverse weather conditions and riding in the dark. The Colorado riders encounter  unexpected solidarity across the American continent and into Europe via Facebook,  providing a glimpse into a broader global winter cycling community by the end of the challenge more than 150 participants from around the world had joined the Icy Bike Winter Commuting Challenge.

Join us (hopefully thermals not required) and be inspired and as we head for spring reflect back on the your winter riding and what it might hold for you next year.

Date: Monday 19 March at 7pm

Venue: The Reliance, 76-78 North Street, Leeds, LS2 7PN

Cost: £5 in advance (tickets can be bought via the Eventbrite link opposite and ticket price includes Eventbrite fee).

Ovarian Psycos

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Film Fringe & The Leeds Bicycle Film Club join forces for International Women’s Day to bring you the documentary Ovarian Psycos :

Riding at night through streets deemed dangerous in Eastside Los Angeles, the Ovarian Psycos use their bicycles to confront the violence in their lives. At the helm of the crew is founder Xela de la X, a single mother and poet M.C. dedicated to recruiting an unapologetic, misfit crew of women of colour. The film intimately chronicles Xela as she struggles to strike a balance between her activism and nine year old daughter Yoli; street artist Andi who is estranged from her family and journeys to become a leader within the crew; and bright eyed recruit Evie, who despite poverty, and the concerns of her protective Salvadoran mother, discovers a newfound confidence.

Directors Joanna Sokolowski & Kate Trumbull-LaValle commented:

“The story of Ovarian Psycos landed in our laps. We had wanted to make a film together for some time, a film about women, but there was no one story that was jumping out at us. Then we heard about the Ovas.

Like a lot of their fans, we were drawn in by the boldness of their politics, their brazen approach to feminism, and unapologetic aesthetic: a hybrid mix of Chicana, Riot Grrrl, Zapatista and militant-punk cultural markers. With bandanas tied across their faces, throwing up their Ova “hand sign,” and a slogan that can make you both laugh and cry out loud – Ovaries so big we don’t need fucking balls – we were enamored. It took us no time to realize that this was an important moment in time, one that was a clear extension of the legacy of civil rights activism in East Los Angeles, the birthplace of the Chicano Movement, and one that needed to be documented and shared. And a moment in time that echoed the memory of women in history who have fought boldly for racial and gender equality, yet continue to be rendered invisible. The Ovas pay homage to women of the past, and are also clearly reinventing their own hybrid-identity as urban, women of colour feminists.

Our hope is that this film will speak to the same misfit women and girls the Ovas are looking to attract, the ones who don’t feel like they fit in, the ones “at-risk” and under-represented. But we also hope that all folks, both mothers and daughters, and fathers and sons, will catch a glimpse of something authentic and relatable in the stories of Xela, Evie and Andi that will help to expand our collective understanding about gendered politics and race, and conversations about what feminism is and should look like.”

Join us on International Women’s Day for a cracking documentary and a slice of female cycle sub culture from East LA.

This is an additional film that I am involved in screening especially for International Women’s Day.  There will also be a standard Feb and March screening.

Date: Thursday 8 March at 7pm

Venue: The Reliance, 76-78 North Street, Leeds, LS2 7PN

Cost: £5 in advance (tickets can be bought via the Eventbrite link opposite and ticket price includes Eventbrite fee).

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Quicksilver

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Kevin Bacon on a bike ! Surely that’s all the info you need to know for our next screening ?

This film should have been shown in November but we had a slight technical hitch (ahem !) which meant it couldn’t be shown.  So what better way to kick off 2018  than with a cheesy 80’s story of redemption, a great soundtrack, and iconic actors  Kevin Bacon followed his breakout role in Footloose with this story of a washed up stock broker who finds his calling as bicycle messenger.

Jack Casey (Kevin Bacon) used to be a hot-shot stock market whiz kid. After a disastrous professional decision, his life in the fast lane is over. He loses his nerve and joins a speed delivery firm which relies on bicycles to avoid traffic jams of San Francisco.  Although frustrated, Casey enjoys the freedom that comes with his lower responsibility. He also uses his education and business acumen to help his co-workers. When some of them are involved in dangerous or difficult matters, Casey must decide whether he should become involved. Those matters lead to a sinister web of murder and intrigue. Can Jack regain his nerve and his self-respect, and rebuild his life on a more sound basis?

Date: Monday 22 January at 7pm

Venue: The Reliance, 76-78 North Street, Leeds, LS2 7PN

Cost: £6 in advance (tickets can be bought via the Eventbrite link opposite and ticket price includes Eventbrite fee).  Please note that existing November ticket holders are valid for this screening so there are limited tickets available for sale.

 

Bicycle

BICYCLE-image-and-title-285x231Bicycle the film asks the question ‘why is cycling and the bicycle back in fashion?’ The film, which is directed by BAFTA winning director and keen cyclist Michael B. Clifford, tells the story of cycling in the land that invented the modern bicycle, its birth, decline and re-birth from Victorian origins to today. The film weaves bicycle design, sport and transport through the retelling of some iconic stories and features interviews with notable contributors Sir Dave Brailsford, Gary Fisher, Chris Boardman, Ned Boulting, Sir Chris Hoy, Tracy Moseley, Mike Burrows and many more, plus great archive, animation and music. ‘Bicycle’ is a humorous, lyrical and warm reflection on the bicycle and cycling within its place in the British national psyche.

The documentary is made by the same people who did the untold story of Mountain Biking which we screened in January so it gets a big thumbs up.

Date: Monday 16 October at 7pm

Venue: The Reliance, 76-78 North Street, Leeds, LS2 7PN

Cost: £4 in advance (tickets can be bought via the Eventbrite link opposite and ticket price includes Eventbrite fee)

 

 

Clean Spirit

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As the Tour de France kicks into gear our July film is the fabulous documentary Clean Spirit which provides an insider look at the Argos Shimano (now Sunweb) team at the 2013 tour which launched Marcel Kittel and John Degenkolb into the public’s consciousness.  The film offers an insider look at what it’s like to be on a professional cycling team at the Tour right now following the highs and lows of the team throughout the three week race but, like A Sunday in Hell, you see much more than the race.  Much of being a professional cyclist involves hotel rooms, team meetings, meals and massage and Clean Spirit really gives you a feel of this life and the internal machinations of a pro cycling team.

The film however is much more that simply a behind the scenes look at a team.  As anyone with a passing interest in cycling will know it has had massive issues with doping.  The Argos-Shimano team was launched as a pro cycling team that strives to compete the right way – clean – and the film crew does not shy away in discussing doping with all members of the team and it provides a fascinating inside and raises all sorts of questions around what it means to be clean.  For example caffeine pills and supplements are legal and the doctor hands these out, although some riders refuse to take them.  There are awkward exchanges but it’s good to see the questions asked and the inner workings of a team shown and you as the viewer are left to make up your own mind.  One thing for certain is that you will have a new found respect for Kittel and Degenkolb.

The camaraderie amongst the team is brilliant to see, you share in the success and failure and one of the narratives within the documentary is how the team rally around Tom Veelers who crashes after tangling with Mark Cavendish (very prescient after just watching yesterdays stage and crash between Cavendish and Sagan).  It’s inspiring viewing and you cannot help but admire the dedication, commitment and sacrifice shown by the riders.  Clean Spirit is a great piece of documentary film making and let’s hope that it will last the test of time and that’s it a true reflection of clean racing and a cleaned up sport.  Only time will tell.

Date: Monday 17 July at 7pm

Venue: The Reliance, 76-78 North Street, Leeds, LS2 7PN

Cost: £7 in advance (tickets can be bought via the Eventbrite link opposite and ticket price includes Eventbrite fee)

 

 

 

The Triplets of Belleville

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Sylvain Chomet’s incredible animated feature film is one of the most original films you could hope to see in long time.  Beautifully hand drawn animation brings a touching and hilarious story to life with nods to Jacques Tati and 101 Dalmations along the way.  A film as heartwarming as it is surreal and strange, The Triplets of Beleville follows elderly Frenchwoman Madame Souza as she becomes involved in international intrigue when her grandson, Champion, a professional cyclist, is kidnapped and taken abroad. Joined by her faithful dog, Bruno, Souza embarks on a journey to find Champion, and stumbles across unlikely allies in the form of three sisters (The Triplets of Belleville) who are veterans of the vaudeville stage. Tracking down Champion’s criminal captors, the quartet of old women use their wits to try and win the day.

This Oscar, BAFTA and Cannes nominated film will beguile you from the first scene.

Date: Monday 22 May at 7pm

Venue: The Reliance, 76-78 North Street, Leeds, LS2 7PN

Cost: £5 in advance (tickets can be bought via the Eventbrite link opposite and ticket price includes Eventbrite fee)