CUSTOM & STYLE: Motorcycle Film Festival: Best of the Fest - the Judge’s Picks

“1952 Vincent Black Lightning” by Cat Bruce, Best Short Narrative, 2014 MFF.

This one was easy. Of all the films screened at the 2014 Motorcycle Film Festival last September, “1952 Vincent Black Lightning” was the most popular among visitors and judges, deservedly winning the Best Short Narrative prize. It didn’t hurt that Richard Thompson’s songwriting masterpiece is one of the best motorcycle tunes ever written! Animator Cat Bruce beautifully transformed the lyrics using hand-cut collage in a shadow-puppet style, shot in single-frame animation, and tied to the rendition arranged by Robertson, MacPherson, and Napier. Her work is fluid, and ultimately moving; either I’m a total sap or those little shapes of paper can work magic.

Shinya Kimura vintage portrait

MFF Judge Shinya Kimura of Chabott Engineering shared this about the film:

“Nowadays, everything—especially image products—is becoming more and more vivid and detailed. To me, it’s beyond my visual ability, and I think it is one of the reasons for losing our imagination skills. Our brains already have power to colorize or make the scene 3D freely by just reading a novel, right? Although I have a tendency to appreciate the beauty of the imperfect, I’m not against high-tech and I don’t choose or select something just because it’s hand-made. ‘Vincent Black Lightning’ to me is visually very poetic, and even without any realistic image I could feel the wind on my body, the same as when I’m riding a motorcycle. It somehow made me feel good and warm inside. Then it reminded me once again that I just don’t have any strong interest in computer graphics and I don’t want to wear 3D glasses when I watch movies :)

Shinya Kimura

“, I loved ‘Speed Racer,’ and also liked a Japanese cartoon called ‘Masked Rider,’ and any animation and cartoons of phantoms, aliens, and monstrous beasts. I also loved ‘Wacky Races’ that was from the States. All we talked about was cartoons and animation at school, and very naturally as we grown up surrounded by them. I gradually moved more into ‘Tokusatsu,’ live action film or television drama using special effects like ‘Godzilla.’ In my opinion, ‘tokusatsu’ was way ahead of computer graphics and more hand-made and artisanal than computer graphics.”

Chris Logsdon portrait

MFF Judge Chris Logsdon of GodSpeedCo picked this as his Judge’s Favorite, and explains:

Now Nortons and Indians and Greeveses won’t do, they don’t have a soul like a Vincent ’52.

“This line from the film sums it up perfectly. I had the privilege to spend a few days with the late Big Sid Biberman, master Vincent tuner, and it was the way he spoke about his Vincent machines that left a lasting impression on me. You would have thought he was describing an old girlfriend. There's just something magical about those Vincents. Aside from that, the story here is well told (obviously Richard Thompson’s song played a major role in that) and in animator Cat Bruce’s hands it was then executed flawlessly. ‘Vincent Black Lightning’ was a stand out to everything I watched during the festival.”

The Motorcycle Film Festival's growing international presence guarantees another amazing mix of shorts, documentaries, experimental films, music videos, and feature films for our 2015 Festival screenings. If you have a film that's motorcycle-related, or know someone who's shy and needs global exposure, reach the MFF at Read more at:

Cycle World’s Paul d’Orléans, our Custom & Style Editor, serves as the event host and chief judge for The Motorcycle Film Festival.