“Riding Han” wins at Filmed by Bike – April/May ’23 Bikepacking News

Welcome back to another news roundup! In this Spring edition we’re excited to share a smattering of films, inspiring and interesting reportage, gear, and upcoming events right here in Tucson. We’ll keep the intro short this time. Read on for our favorite tidbits from the last couple months, and if you’d like to see more or less of certain types of news, drop a line in the comments below. We’ll do our best to include them. Stay cool out there, and don’t forget to drink water.

Eugene Pak’s Riding Han

The Filmed by Bike Film Festival just celebrated its 21st edition a few weeks ago with over 50 films from around the world and a host of stories from Annapurna, the Dolomites of Italy, and films centered around identity, hope, and the joy of being on a bicycle. Especially exciting for us, Eugene Pak’s film Riding Han earned the Audience Choice and Local Awards, as well as third runner up for the Golden Helmet Award. We supported Pak’s trip along the Tour Divide and are proud to see his effort and hard work recognized at such an awesome event. Check out the trailer above, and read on below for Pak’s reflections on the filmmaking process and inspiration behind the film’s wonderful poster art.

-First off, can you tell me about the poster art for the film. What were the thoughts and motivations behind it?

I met my poster artist serendipitously at my first Comic-con in Seattle last Fall. At the convention, there were hundreds of artists, but I went searching for a person who drew in the Korean animated style, which isn’t easy to find. I was about to give up until I saw from the corner of my eye a Korean animated poster, so I went up to the stall and asked the woman if she was Korean. She was, and I told her excitedly about my film and that I was looking to commission someone for my film poster. Luckily she said yes! 

The film poster art was a culmination of the many serendipitous Korean moments along our journey, which you’ll see in the film, as well as the memorable elements from our trip. From the desert, to the Rockies, to the small things that sprung much joy from our adventure.

-Did you have any new takeaways/feelings/etc. seeing your film on the big screen in front of an audience compared to all the hours spent editing?

Honestly, I didn’t really feel like an actual filmmaker until seeing Riding Han on the big screen. I never really got too emotional while editing and watching the film for countless hours over the past two years. But for some reason, seeing it at a festival opened all of the feelings of this long journey I took as a first-time filmmaker. It was a sense of validation – that I’m actually a decent filmmaker, especially after it being recognized with awards. It really helped me invalidate all of the imposter syndrome I’ve been feeling for so long.

-Without having seen the film and not wanting to spoil anything, do you feel like you resolved any of those unresolved resentments that han embodies? 

I wouldn’t define han as only resentment but a spectrum of feelings and emotions one feels from trauma. This feeling was my creative therapy during a time of the pandemic when anti-Asian hate was at an all-time high. Throughout the film process, I dug into the history of my ancestors, family, history of colonialism from Japan, and imperialism from America. I’ve unfortunately uncovered many horrors of Korean history and America’s devastating impact on Korea during the Korean War, aka “Forgotten War.”

It was a small step of reconciling my identity of being a Korean-American. 

-Can you share a high and low of both the ride itself as well as the editing process?

High: Finishing.

Low: Finishing.

As for editing, it was a journey full of disappointments and false promises from companies and individuals. Many times I wanted to quit, but after experiencing many setbacks, I decided that no one is going to be as invested in the film as I am, so I learned how to edit myself. I spent countless hours figuring it out, getting feedback from others, and many more hours cutting my film into what it is today, two years later.

More news here!

  • The Swift Campout: Now in its ninth year, the annual event is happening June 24-25th, and we’re excited to be hosting a trip of our own this year. Sign up here, and join us in the Catalina Mountains to escape the summer heat. 
  • Ultra Distance Plastic Resistance: We reported on this last year, and now Taylor Doyle is back with a set of parameters and a call to action to encourage folks to race and ride plastic free. 
  • The DOOM Yo-yo: Lindsay Shepard became the first person to yo-yo Arkansas’ DOOM route and has plans to yo-yo the Arkansas High Country Race and the Ouachita Triple Crown as well. Check out episode 147 on the Bikes or Death Podcast to hear more. 
  • Randi Jo Portage Hip Pack: How many more fanny pack options do we need? We’re probably saturated for choice, but these caught my eye. Simple and clean esthetics with the option to wear on the waist or hang on the handlebars. 
  • Eating well on the Baja Divide: My friends Sam and Bec share tips and recipe ideas for better, tastier eating on the Baja Divide. 
  • The Engine Inside: Set to release this Summer, the film addresses “the overlooked potential of the bicycle, our noblest invention, in all its forms.” Looks to be a good one!
  • Outdoor Ambassador Collective: Launched by our friend Sarah Swallow, the OAC is a professional community of brand ambassadors and athletes supporting one another for fair and equitable treatment. 
  • Pace of Change: A Rapha production telling Peter Hogan’s journey from drug addiction, finding the bicycle as an outlet and healing space, to contentment with the ride itself.  
  • The Radavist’s “The Dust-up”: A new semi-regular editorial where writers poke and prod at potentially controversial topics in the cycling world. In the latest edition, John Watson parses out the nuance in the terms “bike touring” and “bikepacking.”
  • Inside Framework Designs: These shop visits are some of my favorite reads. I love seeing the inside of maker spaces, learning more about well-known brands, and seeing the inner workings of countless smaller shops producing beautiful gear.

Leaving you with a scene from the L.A. Invitational, pedaling in the Verdugo Mountains outside the city.

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