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Pug in Baltimore Biker doc 12 O'Clock Boys
Pug in Baltimore Biker doc 12 O'Clock Boys

Pass The Popcorn: Lotfy Nathan's Baltimore Biker Doc '12 O'Clock Boys' Opens Today [Exclusive Preview]

Director Lotfy Nathan’s 12 O’Clock Boys chronicles Charm City’s dirt bike riders and their conflicts with local police from the wide-eyed vantage of a boy named Pug - a diminutive street bike prodigy from West Baltimore whose search for manhood is synonymous with his desire to be a part of the pack. To thrill the crowd. To catch air. To hear the people on the block chanting his name as he lifts body and bike from the ground in unison to hold his audience captive with a croupade so deftly executed that there is no doubt his time has come at the very moment the upturned bike aligns perfectly with the hands of the clock at the strike of twelve.

The film produced by Oscilloscope Laboratories explores the idea that keys to a dirt bike are keys to freedom for young men from the city - known to some as Bodymore because of its statistical association to violent crime - whose alternatives for fostering fraternity often necessitate the use of deadly force or potentially dangerous affiliations; the stunts and tricks of street bike culture have afforded some riders cult fame and canonized the sport as the renegade cousin of all-American motocross. The death-defying mid-traffic maneuvers of the riders are only eclipsed by the sheer volume of the pack as they sometimes hit the block in the hundreds.

Nathan follows Pug over the course of three years as he struggles - devoid of a father - to find himself amongst the moving parts and the increasingly seductive hum of an engine. Pug spends two restless summers trying to navigate the hierarchy of the pack and develop the sea legs necessary for everything from popping the proper wheelie to evading police capture. He is critical of riders great and small whose moxy fails to match his own. He is posturing, proud and wet behind the ears as he follows the sound of the pack - a crescendo similar to that of a descending plague - attempting to summon what it takes to ride along with them. Pug’s youthful defiance and declining grades following the sudden death of his older brother Tibba figure into his mother Coco’s reservations about allowing him off of the front porch to burn rubber around the block.

Coco's concerns are compounded by the omnipresence of an antagonistic police force that devotes manpower and valuable resources to the task of driving a wedge - sometimes permanent - between the riders and their bikes. The riders counter the charge with cat and mouse games that leave the city’s streets riddled with tire tracks and frustrate officers who are not legally allowed to chase them; Nathan’s footage proves that police cross the line as often as bikers do. Despite the very evident danger of the sport, it becomes abundantly clear that there is nothing Coco can say or do to stop Pug from chasing his dream. His desire to blast from the city’s cluttered alleys onto the open road is way too strong. After being schooled by a few veterans and having his ride stolen, Pug slips out of the house under cover of night to reclaim his right to ride amongst kings. In that moment, we witness Pug’s first official act as a man and his informal induction into a longstanding tradition of rebellion that allows disadvantaged brown boys to rise from blighted corners and the varied burdens of city life to be remembered as super heroes bending corners to capture freedom at all costs.

What the film lacks is an explicit explanation of the frustrations that lead many riders to hit the road in the first place. It is worth noting that many of them come to these lives of thrill-seeking liberation after years of being told about all of the things they cannot, should not and will never do. Pug's troubles at home and school allude to the growing pains many of them may have faced. Though society views the bikers as a metastasizing nuisance and would prefer to clip their wings, the 12 O’ Clock Boys are a chosen flock that raises a collective middle finger to the system and rejects the suggestion that they cannot fly. While their approach is far from perfect, it is a resounding statement of their refusal be tethered or chained. Lotfy Nathan’s 12 O’ Clock Boys arrives as a limited theatrical release today Friday, January 31st. The film will also be available to audiences via digital download. Check the trailer below to preview the film. Scroll down to check the list of upcoming screenings for local details. Purchase 12 O’Clock Boys via iTunes.


01/31/2014 Austin, TX AFS Marchesa

01/31/2014 Baltimore, MD AMC Owings Mills

01/31/2014 Baltimore, MD MICA - Falvey Hall **TICKETS AVAILABLE ONLINE ONLY**

01/31/2014 Columbus, OH Gateway Film Center

01/31/2014 Corvallis, OR Darkside Cinema

01/31/2014 Denver, CO Sie Film Center

01/31/2014 Greensboro, NC Carousel Cinemas

01/31/2014 Indianapolis, IN IMAX Theater - Indiana State Museum

01/31/2014 Los Angeles, CA Crest Theater

01/31/2014 Miami, FL O Cinema

01/31/2014 Missoula, MT Roxy

01/31/2014 New Orleans, LA Zeitgeist

01/31/2014 New York, NY Angelika Film Center

01/31/2014 New York, NY AMC Empire 25

01/31/2014 Pasadena, CA Laemmle Playhouse 7

01/31/2014 Phoenix, AZ FilmBar

01/31/2014 Portland, OR Clinton Street

01/31/2014 San Francisco, CA Roxie

01/31/2014 Santa Fe, NM CCA Cinematheque

01/31/2014 Seattle, WA SIFF

01/31/2014 Toronto, ON Magic Lantern Theatres - The Carlton

01/31/2014 Tucson, AZ Loft

01/31/2014 Tulsa, OK Circle Cinema

02/01/2014 Austin, TX Alamo Ritz

02/01/2014 Portland, OR Hollywood Theatre

02/06/2014 Portland, ME Space Gallery

02/07/2014 Ft. Wayne, IN Cinema Center

02/12/2014 Nashville, TN Belcourt

02/13/2014 Montreal, QC Phi Centre

02/14/2014 Winston-Salem, NC Aperture Cinema

02/21/2014 Grand Rapids, MI UICA

02/22/2014 Baltimore, MD Charles