Checking in with Drew Bachrach

When a small-town blader boy has a chance encounter at the local thrift store, events take a turn in the rural landscape of Drew Bachrach‘s KOOK. Set to release tomorrow on YouTube and Vimeo, the film has had successful debuts at last year’s Blading Cup as well as across the national film festival circuit. Its two lead actors have themselves found increased exposure and success as well, a fitting turn for a videographer and creator with a long history of being ahead of the curve. We were excited the first time we heard about KOOK and that enthusiasm holds through for the future of all involved — and whatever life the project finds next. Learn more about it all in this Q&A with by Jeff Stanger.

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The world gets to see Kook for the first time (outside of a festival setting) next week. How are you going to release it? 
After an initial screening at last year’s Blading Cup, the film has been shown in theaters around the country. Now that the film festival circuit is over, I’m going to release the film online through YouTube and Vimeo. The easiest way to keep up to date on the film and be the first in line to check out the online version is to “Like” the KOOK Facebook page.

You’ve won a couple of awards so far. What is the most difficult part about getting into these festivals?
The hardest part of getting into a film festival is getting the attention of the festival programmers. Luckily, the main actors in the film — Ruth Reynolds and Jesse Henderson — have had some great projects come out recently so they drew a lot of attention to KOOK. Since filming KOOK, Jesse has become a series regular on MTV’s Finding Carter and Ruth has starred in five or so feature length and short films. 

Still image from KOOK

Your documentary entitled Watts Waits [https://vimeo.com/131012405] has also garnered some awards. Any updates on that films release?
I’m in the process of finalizing Watts Waits, which is my documentary about the most iconic housing projects in South Central Los Angeles. I’m hoping to release it online in early 2016.

 
Commercial work seems to continue coming your way. Who have you shot for recently?
This summer I directed the 2016 season of advertising for Kawasaki Motors. I shot commercials and social media videos for all their motorcycles and side-by-side 4x4s. Keep an eye out form them on TV.

 
I see you’re actively DJing at Mandrake. Is DrewTube still a thing?
Every first Thursday of the month I VJ at the Mandrake in Culver City. The party is called the “A/V Club” cause it’s not just music. I’m spinning YouTube videos live from two laptops while the resident DJs bring the heat on wax.  We have been consistently throwing this party for over eight years now. That has to be a record for a club night.  DJ Dave Paine from Video Groove fame is a resident DJ as well, so you know there’s lots of great music from old-school blade videos.

Still image from KOOK

What advice would you have for young filmmakers in the blade industry for when they are ready to branch out professionally?
Dave Paine gave the best career advice when I was youngster. He was in Detroit filming for VG10 and I was pestering him about if he would hook me up with a job at VG. I was a loudmouth kid and didn’t understand that VG was a small company and that funds to hire people were limited. After bugging Dave for the millionth time he sent me an email that said ,“If you want to do something, don’t wait for someone to hook you up. You have to do everything yourself.” It’s all about making it happen, by any means necessary. If you want to be a director, direct. If you want to be a filmer, get a camera and film. The only way to get better is practice and the best way to practice is to work on personal projects. KOOK is a perfect example of this. I wanted to make a film about a rollerblader and all it took was to get out there and do it.

Questions and moxie by Jeff Stanger

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