Baltimore’s Dirt Bike Movie Picked for SXSW, Needs More Money

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Baltimoreans have mixed feelings about our city’s dirt bike culture (“total menace!” a commenter opined here at the Fishbowl last summer; “both intimidating and thrilling,” a New York Times reporter weighed in last weekend). Local filmmaker Lotfy Nathan has been documenting the city’s 12 O’Clock Boys for years, and his documentary film about a West Baltimore kid who joins up with the Boys, has just been selected to have its world premier at the South By Southwest film festival — one of only 8 films selected out of 905 submissions.

Lotfy, who’s own take on illegal dirt bike culture seems to run toward measured sympathy (“You can imagine a certain population who doesn’t want to join the Boy Scouts,” he told the Times. “A lot of them resort to this sort of street sport with a certain degree of celebrity status. In parts of the inner city, they are pretty highly regarded.”), is trying to raise a last bit of money on Kickstarter to get his film ready for competition.

Nathan’s film centers on Pug, a 13 year-old who lives in West Baltimore and who idolizes the older riders. According to its website, the documentary “presents the pivotal years of change in a boy’s life growing up in one of the most dangerous and economically depressed cities in the United States.”

“At this stage of the game though, we have unavoidable costs for finishing that have to be met,” Nathan writes. “This is what we need your help with. We have to pay for Color Correction, online, printing to HDCAM, Sound design & mix, licensing, some music costs, and getting to the festival.” At the time of writing, Nathan had a ways to go — he’d raised nearly $2,000 with a goal of reaching $30,000 (donate here!). The obvious answer would be to screen the film to eager audiences in Baltimore, but Nathan sees SXSW — a major industry networking event — as “a perfect platform to premiere.” Because the film hasn’t been picked up for distribution, there’s no word yet as to when it’ll be officially released in theaters or on DVD, but if current interest is any indication, we have a feeling we’ll be seeing this on the big screen sometime soon.

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