Love is a Vicious Cycle

From Cycle Chic to bicycle-based horror film with Kristin Tieche.

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When Kristin Tieche founded the Vélo Vogue blog in 2008, the Cycle Chic movement was only just reaching American shores. Fast-forward five years, and her hometown of San Francisco, CA, was suddenly home to dozens of lifestyle-orientated cycling websites, a surefire sign the message of “dress for the destination” had taken hold.

With that, Tieche began dreaming up new and inventive ways to bring bicycling into mainstream media. As she recalled, “Around that time, I had this image in my mind of someone cycling around with a severed head under their arm.” And so, with a little mischievous dreaming, the idea of bicycle-based horror film was born.

Using the skills she garnered from her day job as a documentary film editor, and the lessons learned from her debut experimental film, Forms of Identification, Tieche set about writing, producing, and directing The Spinster, an 18-minute psychological thriller that recently debuted at Portland’s Filmed by Bike Festival.

The film itself is a fun, playful take on the traditional horror flick, following actress Gabriela Sosa on a ride through the streets of San Francisco in search of true love. But in a genre where the female is often the helpless victim, Tieche wrote and directed a strong, independent lead, who is in complete control of her own destiny.

Perhaps one of the coolest things about The Spinster is how it was financed. Tieche and co-producer judy b. organized two separate fundraising events: one at a local bike shop, and another at the fashion boutique that provided much of the film’s wardrobe. She then crowd-funded an additional $8,500 through Kickstarter, offering some awesome rewards for project backers, from custom-designed, laminated spoke cards and limited-edition, silkscreened posters, to the same Civia Twin City bike model seen in the film, generously donated to them by the manufacturer.

Feeling incredibly grateful for all of the assistance provided to her by her colleagues, Tieche insisted on paying back the favor. “I built my team by finding creative professionals I knew in the cycling community – talented editors, visual effects artists, musicians, and graphic artists – who just happened to ride bikes regularly.” Each and every one of them were compensated for their time and effort, a rarity for a project that typically relies on pro bono work done in return for portfolio material.

Now that the world premiere of The Spinster is done and dusted, Tieche is enthralled by the prospect of taking it to film festivals and events across the continent. “In an ideal world, we would love to develop it into a feature-length film or television series, but that would require resources far beyond our current means.” She can, however, be incredibly proud of what she and her friends have accomplished, using one of their finest resources: a supportive and enthusiastic bicycle community.

Find out more about The Spinster:

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