Take Bike the Streets!

Gary Indiana is a misunderstood place with an infamous reputation. Take Bike the Streets follows a group of grassroots activists as they advocate for active transportation for all and implement tangible changes.

  • Jessica Renslow
    Method: A Voice Actor Prepares
  • Gretchen Sipp
  • Project Type:
    Documentary, Short
  • Runtime:
    16 minutes 1 second
  • Completion Date:
    July 28, 2023
  • Production Budget:
    1,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
Director Biography - Jessica Renslow

Jessica Renslow is an Indiana based filmmaker. With twenty years of production experience, she has 700+ credits, as she cut her teeth in episodic TV. A 2003 graduate of Ball State University, she received a BA in Japanese language/culture and Telecommunications. She was a 2002 David Letterman Award Winner for her feature-length screenplay, “Stained Glass Graffiti” and helped produce/direct segments for the Emmy Award-winning entertainment news program “Connections Live!” (WIPB-TV). After graduating, she worked as a teacher and translator for the Japanese Ministry of Education in rural Hokkaido for three years appearing on a variety of NHK shows and radio programs for her community development work. She spent a decade working in Los Angeles for major studios and producing passion projects. 2007 marked her directorial debut with her feature film premiering at the LA Women in Film Festival. She received her master’s in education from California State University in 2012 with a focus on instructional design, new media production and leadership. She translated and adapted the 2013 Sundance International Filmmaker Award-winning script “Spectacled Tiger.” In 2015 she returned to the Hoosier State and has spent the past eight years helping educational institutions, nonprofits and governmental entities adopt new technology. In 2020 she received an Individual Advancement Program grant from the Indiana Arts Commission for her writing. 2022 marked her return to scripted filmmaking with the award-winning premiere of “Method: A Voice Actor Prepares.” She is one of three Hoosier filmmakers awarded a 2023-2024 Unearthed Film Project Grant from Indiana Humanities. Her work has aired on networks such as The Disney Channel, CBS, and PBS. Some of her works are available on the following streaming services: Netflix, Amazon and Hulu. Ms. Renslow is an advocate for independence within the disability community. She feels that bridging the digital divide is a mode for positive change and equity.

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Director Statement

Take Bike the Streets! is a grassroots tale told with true guerrilla filmmaking techniques. This short documentary showcases how one man's passion for cycling changed a community forever. As someone who never considered themselves athletic nor mechanically inclined, I somehow found myself running a volunteer bike shop in my mid thirties. I knew this story needed to be documented so I began to capture footage on a variety of devices and eventually partnered with our vocational institution to help complete post production. In 2015, after a decade living in LA and working in film/TV, I decided to take a job as a community organizer in my hometown. Nestled in the buckle of the rustbelt, Gary Indiana, is known for its high crime rate and depressed economy. A once thriving boomtown that was originally built to serve 200,000 people we now have 70,000 residents living across 56 square miles. That’s 4 miles bigger than San Fransisco! With 19% of our population depending solely on active and public transportation there was a huge need for a bike shop. I got involved with active transportation advocacy as I helmed Gary’s Miller Spotlight initiative. I met a gentleman named Ken Parr who had just retired from teaching science and was ready to donate his time to a good cause. Ken had always been a unique individual, he was a bike advocate for over forty years and a member of the Major Taylor Cycling Club in Chicago. We started advocating as a group to allow people to bring their bikes on our commuter trains in 2015. The South Shore folks were receptive and the community was happy to finally be able to bring bikes on the train. On the tail of this success we started a pop up shop at our farmers market. It was an ad hoc start with Ken running the shop and teaching people the basics of bike maintenance. The need was obvious and so the group and I submitted grant applications to try and get funding. Just as Ken and I were about to go in to pitch the concept to a major sponsor he called me to let me know he was on his way to the hospital. He encouraged me to go ahead and make the pitch and check in with him after it was over. Within an hour I secured funding for our shop and Ken passed away. Now seven years after his death Take Bike the Streets is still advocating, still teaching and still up cycling old bikes. The initiative is run 100% by volunteers, donors and sponsors. (The grant I was originally hired under completed in 2017, but I knew the need was still there for this initiative so I stayed on to help organize it.) This film shows the evolution of a project and how a community can come together to help create safe spaces for lifelong learning. It has given me such joy to produce and I hope it will find its audience. Thank you for your consideration.