Events: Lifestyle

Coming soon: Moto Cinema

Movie Revolution ahead

A festival to showcase the very best new motorcycle movies and short films could be set to become an annual event.

Custom bike builder Robin Johnson and two friends who make up Revolt Motorcycles want to launch the big screen event as early as next year.

The team, which recently hosted the successful art and bike Revolution Show on England’s south coast, wants to provide a platform for the growing number of narrative, documentary and animated films being made about riding and riders.

The idea for a dedicated film festival came to fabricator Robin after the Moto Cinema – part of the three-day Revolution Show – played to packed houses every night.

Customisers, illustrators, artists and engineers came together in a melting pot of ideas inside a disused print house on England’s south coast, but it was the film-making aspect which proved as big a hit as the bikes.

Robin, vintage bike craftsman Jake Robbins and film-maker Shaun Fenton, say they intend to use the New York City success of the Motorcycle Film Festival as their inspiration.

They believe Europe now deserves its own version and point to the success of their small-scale Moto Cinema, which played back-to-back films from around the world to full houses to riders with a shared passion for motorcycle culture and its characters.

Headliners were the first theatrical screening of Flats, a feature film charting two friends’ brat bike ride to Australia’s salt flats, and The Greasy Hands Preachers, a documentary celebrating the revival of bespoke manual work through the passion of mechanics and custom shop founders.

Robin Johnson, Jake Robbins & Shaun Fenton

“The only criteria was that everything we showed had to be visually stunning,” said Robin: “The films ran for eight to ten hours every day and the cinema was full for every showing so we think we can build on the success of that element and take it on.”


The Revolt guys launched the artisan movement because they were – in their words – “bored of seeing weak custom builds with little more than a new tank or seat” hogging the limelight.

Revolt is not only a platform for their own ground-up builds but also a springboard for lesser-known individuals with an eye for stunning attention to detail. Like the father and son hobby shed builders who create bikes together in an old Slaughter House at the bottom of their garden who admit “when the shed gets full we build another shed!”

The first Revolution Show was a concentrated gathering of some of the best known and most exciting motorcycle artisans, followed by a ride out. Stellar illustrators Maxwell Paternoster and Adi Gilbert headed a brilliant cast and were joined by painters, silk screeners and bike photographers, among them Sam Christmas who shot the event for FTR.

“There’s a thin line between art and customising a bike. It’s where the eye for design and the quest for perfect performance meet, so whether you love art and craftsmanship or the lines on a perfect custom build, we believe there’s a real synergy,” said Robin.

Robin and his friends believe artistic genius should be immediately obvious in every new build ‘because there has to be a little bit of the artisan in every custom builder”. Robin added: “That’s where seeing artists, illustrators and builders in the same room can provide inspiration and blur the lines between motorcycle fantasy and reality.

“If any of the mediums get people thinking about art or bikes, that’s good by us and that’s why we’re going to be sitting down to thrash out a plan to make all elements of the show bigger and better next year.”

Watch this space for a release date.