Americano Mondays is a photo + film and interview series inspired by coffee culture. 

Archived Interview: Rock Baijnauth

Archived Interview: Rock Baijnauth

December 2015 Update

I originally photographed and interviewed Rock Baijnauth, the director of “Barista” in 2014. At that point the film was titled, “Drip” and they were still running a Kickstarter campaign to help raise funds.

Well, fast forward to 2015 and I recently attended the Los Angeles based premiere at the ArcLight Cinemas in Hollywood. But it was also a surreal experience because, well, Im in the film. All of 5 or so seconds but I’m in it. So that was crazy to attend a screening of a film that I was interviewed for and then see my huge hair projected on a screen. In LA. And Im not even trying to be an actor…

Unfortunately, Im making a crazed expression the same time that my name/title appears on screen. 

Unfortunately, Im making a crazed expression the same time that my name/title appears on screen. 

Original 2014 Post. 

In February of this year, I attended the Big Western Barista Competition in downtown Los Angeles. It’s a competition where baristas and coffee roasters battle it out to prove who’s the best. The artistry and craft that goes into these presentations is simply stunning. It was coffee nerdom at it’s finest and I loved every moment of it.

But beyond the espresso shots and exquisitely manicured mustaches that would make even Salvador Dalí jealous there was a group of guys running around with RED cinema cameras filming the event. As a photographer and director, I was intrigued to know what they we’re doing but I didn’t want to interrupt them.

I began following their Insatgram account after coming across some behind the scenes images of theirs online. I noticed through their postings that they had recently launched a Kickstarter campaign. I checked it out and decided to back the film.

I sent them a message a few days back about the possibility of meeting up and received a reply from the director. He asked if we could set something up soon since their Kickstarter campaign only had a few days remaining. Cut to today and Rock Baijnauth, the director and I sat down for a photo shoot and a quick interview.

When Rock and I first emailed each other on Wednesday the 25th they were at about 50% of their goal. I’ll be honest, I wasn’t sure they would make it. But thankfully Kickstarter placed their campaign on the home page of the Los Angeles edition and BOOM their numbers start climbing. Cut to yesterday and the freakin’ LA Times interviews Rock. And you know that created some buzz. So as of this moment, Saturday March 29th, 5:00 PM they’ve managed to reach $42,915.00. So close.

Help them out by investing in their film HERE. And here’s the film trailer.

And here’s my first official interview on this here crazy blog of mine with Rock Baijnauth, the director of Drip. (now titled, Barista)

Tell me a bit about your background as a director

I started out writing narrative films for a few production companies in LA. My biggest break came after I got into documentary films and directed the Pirate Tapes which HBO purchased from us. That was an awesome time in this guys history. That documentary was about Somali pirates. I figured coffee was the next logical step.

What drew you to focus your film on the ‘competition’ aspect of the coffee world?

Competition is something we can all relate to. There’s a definitive goal that everyone can understand whether you’re a coffee person or not. It gives the film a nice backbone and shows you what our characters are fighting for.

What are you plans with the film once it is complete?

Our goal the whole time was to get into a major film festival. I think it’s kind of the perfect subject matter for that. I feel like a lot of the people who go watch indie films are that same bohemian, ‘let’s go to a coffee shop and chill and do our work’. That’s our audience. Sundance would be amazing. Im from Toronto so the Toronto International Film Festival would just be a dream come true for me just on a personal level.

How has the response from the coffee community been?

Nothing short of amazing. So much support on every level. It’s a great community.

What’s your favorite coffee drink

Can’t beat a good latte, kid

Special thanks to Andante Coffee Roasters for allowing us to do our interview and photo shoot at their location. And to @ryanjiejiang for rockin’ out the crazy cappuccinos and amazing latte’ art.

Archived Interview: Brandon Loper

Archived Interview: Brandon Loper