Kenk: The film

Kenk, the film: A stop animation portrait of the man who probably stole your bike

Story by Melissa Allen-Anderson

If you’ve lived and cycled in Toronto for a few years, you’ve no doubt heard of him.

You will have seen the newspaper stories about his arrest and you may have even read the book about him.

Now, get ready for KENK, the film. The experimental, documentary short film by the same people who brought you KENK: A Graphic Portrait (featured in dandyhorse Volume 3, Issue No. 1).

I recently sat down with Craig Small, a Toronto animator, and Alex Jansen, the publisher of KENK: A Graphic Portrait, at The Juggernaut animation studio in downtown Toronto to talk about how they captured the city’s most notorious bike thief on film.

After an hour-long conversion with Kenk at his bike shop, Jansen got the idea to film him in 2007 and brought on Jason Gilmore, a filmmaker and graphic designer, as a collaborator. That summer, for six weeks, Kenk allowed the two men to follow him around with a video camera. At the time, everyone suspected Kenk of dealing in stolen bikes, but he’d never been arrested. It wasn’t until the following July that Metro Toronto Police uncovered almost 3,000 bikes at various garages around the city, along with several kilograms of marijuana and a couple of ounces of cocaine. Police laid a total of 58 bike theft and narcotics-related charges against Kenk.

Looking at the grainy footage now, Small comments on -- of all things -- his subject’s work ethic. Kenk, he explains, is a man of contradictions -- and will surprise viewers who think they know everything about him.  “He’s a hard-working thief.”


READ MORE about the film; made with a mixture of live-action and stop animation to create a 15-minute documentary about the man who probably stole your bike.  The FULL STORY, plus photos by Rebecca Baran, are featured  in dandyhorse Volume 4, Issue No. 1 - May 2011. Subscribe today and get dandy at your door.

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