Director BIO:  Ryan Mekenian (SPOKESPEOPLE)

Ryan is an Armenian-American filmmaker based in his hometown of Los Angeles where he is a proud M.F.A. Candidate at the U.S.C. School of Cinematic Arts.

Ryan’s recent short film, The American Ambassador, premiered at the Catalina Film Festival in 2019. His work as a director has been also been seen at The Skirball Center, The New York Musical Festival, The American Theatre of Actors, & The Hollywood Fringe Festival, and has examined concepts such as modern alienation and the societal dependency on prescription medications.

He is a graduate of New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts and a member of Lincoln Center Theater Director’s Lab West.

Director Statement

The first time I felt a sense of real freedom was on a bicycle.

I was 7 years old, the wind whipped through my hair as I flew down the hills in my neighborhood. No teachers. No parents. No one to tell me how fast or slow to ride, no one to control the motion of the handlebars. It was everything.

But as the years went on, I grew up, like we all do, and that feeling of independence faded into the background… 10 years went by without a bicycle ride.

It wasn’t until a trip to Amsterdam that I’d rediscover that love of cycling. I spent two weeks exploring the city via bike, and that freedom, that whimsy, rose up in me again. I felt connected to the pavement under my feet, to my own heartbeat, and to the community of other riders around me.

The first thing I did upon returning home was to buy a bicycle.

Since then, I’ve often wished my hometown of Los Angeles was more like Amsterdam. On most L.A. roads, bike lanes do not exist. On the handful of roads that actually have bike lanes, riders still compete to be seen and even respected by L.A. drivers.

I spend most days driving to class in nearly an hour of traffic; a glass pane shielding me from other people and from my city. Spokespeople is a love letter to Los Angeles, a testament to the ideal that one day, the Bicycle can be the great equalizer: accessible to all; benefiting the Heart, Lungs, Body, and Mind; while simultaneously creating a better environment for Angeleno’s.

By documentaryfestival

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