"We were driving 70mph, trying to keep up with Joey-Jo the legend, whose specialty is to jump from driving car to driving car. He kept on screaming FASTER, FASTER. I kept on thinking INSURANCE, INSURANCE. It was nerve racking."

ABOUT THE FILM

So you thought you knew New York? Well get to know an entirely different New York, seen through the eyes of America's hippest sub-culture, the hard core bicycle messenger. From Chinatown to Midtown. From the Upper East Side to Greenwich Village; no one knows the city a they do. Hard core messengers adhere to only one motto: "Either you get better or you get dead."

THE NEED FOR SPEED is a documentary that will have you on the edge of your seat, as it follows these adrenaline addicts through their grueling and dangerous routine, while looking into their personal lives where things only calm down a little.

These are men and women who have made their job a lifestyle. They have formed an elite club, where only the best of the best are allowed admission. "We take care of our own, we police our won, we protect our own. It's the unwritten law of the streets; we look out for each other 'cause nobody else will.' When all the forces are against you, a dependable network, as much as phenomenal biking skills are essential for Steve the Greek, Bill Silverfox, Vicki Butterfly and the X-Men, in order to survive in this urban jungle. Whether its cars, pedestrians, police or the rain and snow, nothing can stand in the way of getting the job done. "I only know one way to go through traffic and that's as fast as I can. I'm not a break person and I don't stop for lights," says Steve the Greek, owner of Mother's Messenger Service and a legend on the road. "This is my private hell and my personal freedom. Yeah, we are the last free spirits in America and I'm Marco Polo doomed to New York!"

For ten high speed days the production crew followed the messengers on their runs through New York City, mingling in and out of the society they rebel against. Cinematographer Oliver Bokelberg rigged the camera onto the back of a convertible to be able to catch them in action. Katharina Otto, who directed half of the film driving the convertible, recall: "We were driving 70mph, trying to keep up with Joey-Jo the legend, whose specialty is to jump from driving car to driving car. He kept on screaming FASTER, FASTER. I kept on thinking INSURANCE, INSURANCE. It was nerve racking."

To get the real feeling of what being a hardcore messenger entails, bicycle camera man Marc Foreman, joined the NEED FOR SPEED crew, with his self-constructed camera bike. He was able to follow them, through even the tightest spots.

Once, to capture the essence of their speed, cinematographer Bokelberg stood in the center of Fifth Avenue and oncoming traffic, as Vicki Butterfly sped past him. "We waited for a red light and ran into the street. Then came Vicki and the cars and I'm sure you know what New York drivers are like. But then...anything to get the shot", smiles Bokelberg. "We all got so addicted to adrenaline, that we had withdrawal symptoms after wrapping," says Otto. "Our film also depended much on the assistance and in-put of the New Yorkers. They gave the film an added spice. I mean, how can you make a film about New York without including the ever-ready comments of the New Yorkers. What can I say, thank you Big Apple."

CREDITS

Director of Photography

Oliver Bokelberg

Edited by

Berndine Colish

Line Producer

Penny CM Stankiewicz

Written by

Katharina Otto

and

Raimund Kusserow

Directed by

Katharina Otto