The Baker Movie

From Food Network’s Challenge to Bravo’s Cake Boss, TV is a medium that has been good to bakery. And later this year, the world of bread baking will have The Baker, an experimental documentary film following artisan bread baker Mike Zakowski on his journey to the Coupe du Monde de la Boulangerie in Paris as part of the Bread Bakers Guild Team USA, who placed second in the international competition in March.

The purpose of the film is to communicate, through modern filmmaking techniques, the art and science involved in hand-crafting artisan bread in Northern California, the heart of the burgeoning local and organic food movement. Zakowski owns The Bejkr, a one-man bread operation producing a couple hundred loaves of hand-made bread every week.

Zakowski had the idea for the film (being shot by Sonoma filmmakers Colin Blackshear and Quinn McCarthy) nearly a decade ago, when he created a short, creative video on bread baking. “From then on I have wanted to do something more. The timing worked out; now it’s happening for all the right reasons,” Zakowski says. “It just so happened that I was on Team USA, so I thought that would be a perfect highlight in the film. I’d already been working hard preparing for the competition, and the filming was just a natural part of it.”

Although the documentary traces Zakowski’s steps toward Coupe du Monde, that’s only a fraction of the film’s purpose. The filmmakers are still hard at work on footage not only of Zakowski, but also of bakers from across the country and around the world.

“It’s about a lifestyle, not just bread,” Zakowski says. “The common thread throughout will be bread from seed, to grain, to flour, to table — keeping it green, local sustainable, organic, biodynamic, real.”

No official release date has been set, but the team hopes to release The Baker to food film festivals and other various film festivals. They are currently seeking funding to continue production; visit www.thebejkr.com for more information and to view a preview.