9 Minute Moto Film Festival aka 9MMFF

by Liz Jansen

moto film festivalWe’ve all sat through tedious photo and video presentations, capturing what was undoubtedly a grand adventure. To the person having it. To the viewers, it was an hour of dust or trail, an hour that wasn’t very interesting.

“There’s very little that’s interesting unless you’re a top class racer or you’re doing something incredibly heroic,” says Nevil Stow, Round-The-World traveler and Co-creator of the 9MMFF (9 Minute Moto Film Festival). “Everything is usually shot from the top of someone’s head or the side of the bike. There’s no video of anyone talking, just tons of boring video.”

Three years ago heading into the winter of 2013, friends invited Nevil and his co-creator wife Michelle over and told them they had 15 minutes to give a presentation on what they did on their motorcycles the past season.

Michelle and Nevil had just been to the Yukon, and had done plenty of other riding around their home in Canmore, in Alberta’s Rocky Mountains. They edited their raw material, prepared  five and six-minute films, and added captions and music.

“Then I laid the glove down to our close friends,” recalls Nevil. “Go away, buy an editing program, and learn how to use it. You can put music to it, dub it, add subtitles and learn lots of tricks. It’s something we can do together.” Thus, the 9MMFF was born.

The next challenge was coming up with a title. Michelle came up with the Moto Film Festival but there was the question of film length. Daughter Jessica pointed out that Nevil fell asleep at the 10-minute mark of movies so they chose 9 minutes—his attention span.

The Festival has come up with a set of rules, compiled from film festivals around the world. Nevil is very clear they don’t want music or images pirated from other artists.

People are putting a lot into this and word is getting out. Although organizers reserve the right to decide which films get shown, last year, all the films submitted—about 17— were shown at the main event. Three to five official volunteer judges reviewed them for cinematography, sound, composition, and adherence to the guidelines.

“Now we’re going into our third year and people are getting quite serious,” says Nevil. “We’re making movies about what we do and our great grandchildren are going to watch them. We need to be able to give them a story.”

9MMFF has partnered with Horizons Unlimited (HU) to show selected films at specific HU events. Viewers vote on a People’s Choice for that event. The main event is always at Dead Man’s Flats in Canmore. They’ve also partnered with We Love Motogeo for web design.

Think you’ve got a great story to tell? 9MMFF would love to hear from you. Check out their website for details. And watch for a showing coming to an HU event near you!



Author, writer, and student Liz Jansen combines her artistic mediums to create stories that inspire readers to embark on their own journey of self-discovery.

2 Comments on “9 Minute Moto Film Festival aka 9MMFF

  1. Thank you Liz for showing me the 9minute film site. I loved the two films that were available. I must say it is a great idea and the right length. Mary

    • Thanks Mary. I just got a chance to see more entries at the Horizons Unlimited gathering in BC. A couple of them were really good too – hope you get to see them!