Each year at the Sundance Film Festival independent film makers and aspiring actors mix with A-list celebrities, movie studio moguls and all sorts of fancy folks. Crowds gather to ogle at the red carpet and the next big movie gets shown for the first time. I suppose that’s as good a way as any to run a film festival, but when it came to throwing the first ever Motoworks Film Festival, we did it our own way. No red carpet. No producers on their cell phones making deals. Instead, we took more of the scenic route.

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You see, the two short films we screened at the Motoworks Film Festival were more than a year in the making and Motoworks Chicago was at the center of their creation. Those films were Lords of the Atlas: The Mexican 1000 and Lords of the Atlas: The Alcan 5000. Besides the titles, these two adventure short films have a lot in common. Collaborating with ICON Raiden, Triumph, and others, we sent Johnny Moto himself on two epic off-road adventures along with a pair of Triumph Tiger 800XCs in full ICON Raiden livery. You can learn more about those adventures here on BTM.

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Saturday night we got together to finally see both films for the first time. We all met at the lovely Patio Theater, and while there wasn’t a red carpet, we had the next best thing. We had Johnny Moto himself greeting everyone in his tux. We had the crew from Motoblot tearing tickets. We had Manticore, the white Tiger 800XC featured in the films along with Johnny’s ICON Raiden riding gear on display. We also had a premier of a different sort. We brought along the all-new 2015 Triumph Tiger 800XCx, the next generation of the venerable Tiger 800s seen in the films.

Turnout was fantastic. We can’t thank our local moto pals enough for your support and your enthusiasm. We made a big dent in filling up the Patio Theater. The ceremonies got underway with Johnny introducing the two films and thanking everyone who helped make them happen. Some of those people were in the audience with us — in particular several of our partners from ICON and several of our moto buddies who’d come along as support crew on our Tiger adventures. Without further ado, it was time to watch the films, starting with Lords of the Atlas: Mexican 1000.

Though the first film had previously premiered online, this was the first (and maybe the only) time either film would be on the big screen. We knew the Mexican 1000 film was great, but it was extra great seen in its full, big screen glory. The adventure was larger than life and a proper theater showing helped us really feel that scale.

Next up was the sequel, Lords of the Atlas: Alcan 5000. This would be the first time online or off that this film would be shown. This pre-release edit was just for our Motoworks Film Festival and is never to be seen again. The final version will go up online in the coming days. As good as the Mexican 1000 film is, the Alcan 5000 film was even better. It was a bigger adventure and one built firmly on the foundations of our Motoworks service team, who did all our race prep for Alaska. In retrospect, we wish we’d used ours for the Mexican 1000 prep too.

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We followed up the Lords of the Atlas films with a big screen viewing of Bruce Brown’s iconic On Any Sunday. It’s been a while since I’ve seen it, but I’ve seen it many times. Like most motorcycle enthusiasts, On Any Sunday is a long time favorite of mine. Even decades later, the enthusiasm and camaraderie shown in this documentary still echo in the very motorcycle community we enjoy in Chicago today. It’s so great to be reminded of that and re-grounded in what riding bikes is all about: spending time with great people doing something that makes us feel alive. When you think about it, the whole evening had been about that very idea. These adventures we took crossing the continent from one end to the other weren’t adventures we made alone. We had our friends along with us every mile, both in person and in spirit.

Now the question is, what next? What adventures will this riding season bring? We’d rather turn that question around. What adventure will you take this year, and how can we help?

Gallery: Motoworks Film Festival 2015