Interview: Bari Kang (The Scrapper)


Hello Bari, how are you? Thank you, for taking the time to do this interview for How did this idea manifest for you?

Bari Kang- Hi Janel! Thanks so much for inviting me and watching The Scrapper! This film is quite personal to me as my own family came to America illegally as refugees from Punjab, India in the late 80’s. We eventually settled in Queens, NY and I witnessed a lot of “shady” dealings growing up. It was quite an experience. When I learned about the Punjabi-Mexican connection I knew this would be the backbone of the “The Scrapper.” 

The Scrapper has a powerful message, at least to me. Sometimes I think so much about the world and what is happening all around the world. I don’t always think people realize some of the stuff happening around the world, and in the United States. What do you think is the most difficult aspect of making such an incredibly yet intense film like this?

Bari Kang- I’m grateful the film is connecting with the audience! For me the most challenging part is the production because it takes a village to make a film. I enjoy writing because it’s mostly in your control but once you get into production there are so many moving parts and people involved. The project takes on a new life. You need to make sure your vision is intact every step of the way and sometimes it could be very challenging because many things are not in your control.

You directed, wrote, and star in the film. Is that challenging doing everything? I often believe that the more you know the better off you are, but I’d imagine it can be challenging.

Bari Kang- It’s challenging for sure but I love it ALL. I started as an actor but wasn’t happy with the auditions and parts I was being offered. I knew I was capable of more so decided to create instead of competing. Writing has helped my craft as an actor and director more than anything else. It’s just a matter of what you want to do. I’m not one to wait for opportunity, I have to keep moving and creating.

What was it like for you working with this cast? I loved Craig muMs Grant, I was able to interview him for a film, and I felt like I was talking to an old friend who was giving me life advice. Everyone did an amazing job, including yourself.

Bari Kang- Thank you. Craig “muMs” was an absolute gentleman. He had an amazing vibe on set and I consider it an honor to have worked with him. We lost a wonderful man and artist with his passing. The scenes with him had such a fluidity about them and I believe his presence boosted everyone’s confidence. The cast was an absolute pleasure to work with, everyone was on top of their game. I’m grateful to our CD’s and the actors for elevating the project with genuine characters.

What advice or words of wisdom would you offer to fellow filmmakers and writers?

Bari Kang- You have to be in it for the long haul. It’s a ton of work and it never gets easy, at least not for me. Develop a thick skin and accept rejection as a part of the process. Be content with what you are able to create and you will see improvement along the way.

This movie was gritty and beautiful, it reminded me of a seventy’s movie but modern and the gritty in a good way. You feel the story in this movie. You feel for the characters, you want to root for the characters. What was it like shooting the film and where did you shoot the film? (You have every kind of amazing detail and it just made the film so good.)

Bari Kang- YESS!! I’m so glad you felt that way because that’s exactly what I was going for. Brutal yet beautiful. I love the old school gritty movies. They had such an awesome vibe to them. I grew up watching Tarantino, Scorsese and De Palma. I was always drawn into those gritty worlds full of anti-heroes and underdogs. Our DP, Saro Varjabedian did a fantastic job with the cinematography to bring my vision to life. It’s challenging creating a consistent tone on a low budget film but we pulled it off! Most of the film was shot on-set in Queens NY with authentic locations and that helps a lot when budget is limited. We also shot upstate for one week. The Upstate locations really helped the movie to “breathe” and added beauty to the film.

What are you working on next and will you write and direct again?

Bari Kang- Absolutely! Writing is a must to keep the mental muscles strong and ideas flowing. Currently I’m developing a series and several feature films all focused on underrepresented characters at the fringes of society.

What do you want to say to everyone that will be watching The Scrapper? What do you want them to know from your perspective?

Bari Kang- The Scrapper is really about family, loyalty and change. I think we can all relate to Jake on a visceral level. We just want to be the best versions of ourselves but it’s not always possible. Sometimes our environment and innate nature get the best of us. Most importantly, I hope you enjoy it. Cinema for me is first and foremost entertainment.

How did you prepare the cast? This cast is so incredible. Each person just put heart and soul into the characters. How did you prepare everyone?

Bari Kang- Thanks again! Yeah, they were all incredible. I believe a major part of directing is in the casting process. I tend to look for actors who have innate qualities which will lend to the character they need to portray.  I’m also a big proponent of references; people, characters from literature, movie’s etc… Finally, you just need to let go and trust. If you give people responsibility, they tend to be responsible. I don’t like to micromanage as that kills creativity.

Is there anything special you had to do to portray Jake?

Bari Kang- For sure! My approach to the character of Jake started with the physical and his outward behavior. I dropped about 20 pounds and adopted a minimalist lifestyle since Jake spent time in prison. This really helped me to inhabit his inner world. I stopped going to the gym and just did tons of push-ups and pull-ups whenever I got a chance. I also worked as a “scrapper” for a month to get his movement’s down. From there I was really able to dig deep and see what really motivates him, what he’s really after and what he’s most scared of. This is where the internal work started.

I thank you so much for taking the time to do this interview for The Scrapper was incredible. It had so much heart.

Bari Kang- It’s absolutely my pleasure and thank you for all the kind words. I definitely put my heart, soul and some blood into this one so, I am eternally grateful the film is having an impact. I hope everyone at gets a chance to check out the film. Until next time!

Bari Kang’s Hard Hitting Crime Thriller THE SCRAPPER explodes on digital this December 

A crime thriller led by a diverse cast, THE SCRAPPER will be available to purchase or rent starting on December 7th from 1091 Pictures. Jeffrey Cooper, Owner of Cut Entertainment Group, negotiated the deal on behalf of the filmmakers.                                                                                                                                                                                            

Queens, New York City. A criminal playing-field of modern immigrant syndicates: human-trafficking, money-laundering and unflinching brutality. Uncomfortable in his Punjabi-Mexican skin, ex-con turned ‘scrapper’ Jake carries the weight of both his family legacy and a violent past. Caring for a mentally-challenged brother and an unborn child on the way, he is focused on turning his life around. When one last job presents a way out for good, he must decide between loyalty to blood ties or to his newfound family. His past soon catches up with him and he’s thrown into the middle of a conflict between Punjabi and Mexican factions led by violent, ruthless criminals. As events explode into brutal violence, with everyone he loves at stake, he may need to go to his own darkest places to finally escape.

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