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‘Caffeine & Gasoline’: Film focuses on evolution of motorcycle-cafe culture in New Mexico

Steven Maes is the director of “Caffeine & Gasoline: Evolution of the American Rocker.” (Courtesy of Steven Maes)

It all started with a video for the Duke City Rockers motorcycle-café group.

Then the idea just got bigger for Steven Maes and the project became the feature film, “Caffeine & Gasoline: Evolution of the American Rocker.”

The film will be shown at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 26, as part of the Balloon Fiesta Drive-in series.

The film delves into the history of the rockers and the café clubs whey they started the movement, exploring the renewed interest in these unique bikes on the other side of the pond and their impact on American youth.

Tracing its roots from 1960s East London and the legendary 59 Club, café racer motorcycle culture and the rocker movement originally drew from American music and fashion to create their own brand of teen rebellion and counter-culture, done up British-style.

It explores the current growing modern-classic movement while uncovering a large and varied group drawn to the surviving subculture within the subculture of motorcycle riding.

Maes and his crew spent five years documenting people ranging from vintage bike enthusiasts to custom bike builders and café racer clubs.

Though the film has shown at local film festivals, the version shown at the drive-in is a new cut of the film.

Maes says Chris Donahue and Katee Sackhoff signed on as executive producers, and the idea started to evolve.

“We tried to make this version like it was a pilot for a docuseries,” Maes says. “I cut it down to 55 minutes and rearranged the story to make it more appealing to a network. The story moves a little faster. I’m so happy to have it done. When you do something like that and paying for everything out of your pocket, you want as many people to see it.”

Maes says the project is being shopped around to at least three networks.

He wants the docuseries to focus on the many stories cut from the feature film.

Steven Maes looks at a monitor while filming “Caffeine & Gasoline: Evolution of the American Rocker.” (Courtesy of Steven Maes)

“I’ve got hundreds of hours of footage,” he says. “I have all these great stories, and the film was always so jampacked that it seemed like overload. To the layperson that didn’t know about the history of bike riding, I had to leave the stories out. With the docuseries format, we can continue to tell the stories and tell them one at a time.”

Maes hopes to get back into production once health restrictions are lifted.

“It’s given us time to work hard at shopping around the pilot to the networks,” he says. “But these stories are so good. Sometimes we don’t know how important the stories are out there. New Mexico has some really important stories in the bike world.”

 

SEND ME YOUR TIPS: If you know of a movie filming in the state, or are curious about one, email film@ABQjournal.com. Follow me on Twitter @agomezART.

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