film:. a regular’s animated morning stroll | in conversation with director, grant orchard

on an unseasonably warm, yet temperate, new york evening, I visited the lower east side. first, for some coffee shop respite at Pushcart Coffee and then to Rooftop Films -an underground, independent film series – for their opening night.

on the film program for the evening, was a list of shorts. how wonderfully amused I was, when the pixels on the screen made way to the animated short, “a morning stroll.” while viewing “a morning stroll”, I felt fully immersed in the picture’s story and journey through three time periods set in New York – 1959, the present and 2059- with the kind of people smdlr likes to document, the regular coffee drinker.

and now, for a conversation with a morning stroll’s director, Grant Orchard, who of London based, Studio AKA earned a 2012 academy award nomination for its work. enjoy the trailer and the conversation.

A MORNING STROLL ( Trailer) from STUDIO AKA on Vimeo.

Hi, Grant, Am I correct to assume you’re a coffee drinker?

Oh yes.

What do you start your day with and where do you have a cup of coffee?

I buy bulk form the Algerian Coffee Stores in Soho [London] and therefore have a filter coffee on the go most of time at home.

A Morning Stroll has very definitive characters and landscape (NY). What part of your morning routine helped shaped the stroll?

Well, the thing is I don’t walk to work, I cycle. So my morning routine has no relevance to the films. I basically needed a location that felt busy and built up. Due to the film spanning 100 years, I needed a city with a strong visual identity and an ability and history of changing with the times. New York was perfect.

I think that’s so interesting. To still be inspired by a routine, although it isn’t entirely your own. A coffee shop has a cameo in your landscape (in the present section, and coffee itself (in the future section). Why was it an important feature to show a human’s existence with coffee being a regular staple?

I needed the middle section to be very loud and noisy – visually, and an awful lot of coffee shops exist and bark for your attention. I’d say just about every other shop sells coffee. It was an obvious visual motif. That and mobile phones.

Along those lines of visual motif, can you talk about coffee’s role in our – our being a generalization- daily habits? 

I think, as lovely as coffee is, it’s been habitualized into our morning routine by the prevalence of coffee shops. It’s legalized morning crack. Basically we only need a small shot of coffee, but I see people carrying around buckets of the stuff. It’s modern day armour, a cup of coffee in one hand and a mobile phone in the other. Let daily battle commence.

This makes me laugh, legalized crack. Well, coffee is a drug. What do you hope this film speaks to when it comes to coffee and its continual role in culture?

Its observing the fashion of the time, it’s not a negative comment, it’s just a way of giving the characters some context to their time. Basically what’s a universal adornment in modern cities? Mobile phones and coffee. (Possibly fixed gear bikes as well).

I understand that. And, I think its quite clever to give coffee the function of being an adornment to a city. Lastly, I adore the music. Its hip and yet gives me the feeling of motion, like I’m going along somewhere too. Can you speak to how the music was chosen for the film? And, if you think music has a bearing in our coffee rituals/habits?

Thanks. It was written by my long-time collaborator Nic Gill. Usually the soundtrack is created after the visuals are made, but because we work together it was made in conjunction. The film took two years to make, so the music also percolated for that time, hence it being so rich, like a good Colombian roast.

Ha, great coffee play, I like it, thanks so much, Grant and to Studio AKA.

Stills courtesy of Grant Orchard. You can find the score on iTunes.

Comments are closed.