The National Film Board of Canada (NFB) has just released a short film shot during the early days of the pandemic titled 60 Day Cycle. The film, which follows a lone cyclist as he rides through and empty Vancouver, was created by Darcy Wittenburg, Colin Jones and Darren McCullough, partners at Anthill Films, a Canadian company specialized in outdoor adventure films. Anthill Films’ recent credits include Return to Earth, a film on the bicycle’s power to immerse riders in the present moment.
Produced by Nicholas Klassen and Rob McLaughlin at the NFB’s Digital Studio in Vancouver, 60 Day Cycle is the first film in a national series of by artists reflecting on the COVID-19 pandemic.
Starting his ride in the peaceful B.C. wilderness, the cyclist moves into a quiet, empty city. As he winds through the desolate streets of a locked-down Vancouver, narration composed of radio fragments from the first two months of the pandemic plays in the background. Gradually shots of boarded up shops and empty playgrounds give way to cuts of artist painting murals, people shopping safely with masks and the beginnings of a “new normal”.
The film highlights the deficiencies of cities built solely for cars. As bike sales boom, and more cyclists take to the roads, the pandemic has illuminated the need for safer cycling infrastructure throughout the world. 60 Day Cycle gives space for grieving what has been lost, but calls for a re-imagining of the cityscape itself as communities begin to rebuild.