Here’s a fun video about craft beer’s struggles to get to market. With a hat tip to Brian Stechschulte at Bay Area Craft Beer, it’s a student film by a Michael Jolly, done for his “Motion Graphics class. It’s an animated info graphic concerning American Craft Beer. I created all artwork, narration, and animation myself. Hope you enjoy it…And drink craft beer!” He’s titled it: Craft Beer: A True Underdog Story.
Michael Jackson, beloved beer journalist, inspired thousands of brewers and beer enthusiasts with his books and television series, “The Beer Hunter.” He achieved cult status in the U.S., but many don’t realize his fame within the world of whiskey writing and tasting.
Filmmaker J.R. Richards traveled extensively with Michael throughout the United States and Europe, filming Michael as he got the story behind the world’s greatest beer and whiskey. Through this footage and interviews with leading brewers and beer enthusiasts, we are treated to an intimate picture of Michael: his enigmatic personality, his extraordinary life, his remarkable contributions, and his secret struggle with Parkinson’s Disease.
And here’s an early trailer:
But the filmmakers need your help to finish the movie and bring it to the world, helping to preserve Michael’s legacy. Please consider a small donation — just $10 will be appreciated — though if you want to be more generous, that will be appreciated as well. Donations of any amount can be made online through PayPal.
This is not, strictly speaking, a beer birthday, which is why I called it a “beerish” one, but my wife and I are both Browncoats, fans of the criminally short-lived television show Firefly. Like many Browncoats, we’ve continued to follow its cast members, especially the star of Firefly, and its companion film Serenity, Nathan Fillion. Today is Nathan Fillion’s 40th birthday.
Fillion is currently one of the stars of the hit TV show on ABC: Castle, which is now in its third season. He was also Captain Hammer in Dr. Horrible’s Sing-a-Long Blog (in fact a couple of years ago in All About Beer magazine’s “It’s My Round” when I wrote Living In The Silver Age, the photo showed me wearing a Captain Hammer t-shirt). Some of Fillion’s films include Waitress and Slither, and he was the “wrong” Ryan in Saving Private Ryan. Some of his television appearances include Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Lost, Drive and Desperate Housewives, and he got his start on the soap opera One Life To Live.
Before he’d had a hit TV series, my wife attended a Firefly convention in Los Angeles and Fillion not only attended it but was at one of the after parties that she was involved in. Thanks to me, she brought the beer — a collection of whatever I could part with from the cellar at that time. Sarah snapped a photo of Fillion drinking one of those beers, Drake’s IPA, through a curly straw. Join me in wishing Nathan a very happy birthday. And if you aren’t watching Castle or haven’t seen Firefly, you owe it to yourself to right that wrong.
The folks at Ska Brewing, from Durango, Colorado, have made a hilarious spoof of Sam Calagione’s Discovery Channel series Brew Masters. In fact, Sam even makes a cameo appearance in the 22-minute video. The plot of the video involves making a special commemorative beer for the 30th anniversary of one of their favorite ska bands, The Toasters, using — you guessed it — toast. Ska co-founder David Thibodeau is great in it, and I especially loved his “there’s Adam Avery.” Don’t worry, it will make sense when you see it. Enjoy.
Maybe I was on to something when yesterday I suggested that we’re entering the “Golden Age of Beer Films.” Michael Ryan Lawrence, founder of Philly Philms, let me know this morning that there’s at least one more beer film in production. His film, Beeradelphia, is done being filmed and he’s in the editing process. A new website should be up next Monday, and that will feature “clips from the film, production photos, a blog” and more. You can also sign up for a newsletter there where you can follow along as announcements are made.
Here’s how he describes the film:
Beeradelphia is not just about beer. It’s about the home breweries and the home brewers. The local breweries and local brew pubs. The bar owners and the bar patrons. The beer festivals and beer events and all those that make them possible. The beer authors and beer personalities that keep us in “the know.” And of course… A film about Philly and Beer would not be complete without all the madness that is Philly Beer Week.
Beeradelphia is expected to be released early next year.
I’m starting to think we’re about to enter a period of time replete with films about beer, the “Golden Age of Beer Films” perhaps? There seem to be an awful lot in production right now, and I keep hearing about another one seemingly every other day. The latest is “Beer Culture,” which will be a film about Colorado’s beer scene. The film is being made by FM Productions who a couple of days ago posted the first trailer for their movie.
Here’s their description of the film:
Beer Culture is a documentary film about the growing trend in Craft Beer set in the epicenter of it all, Colorado. Beer Culture explains the cultural phenomenon behind the growth of craft beer telling it through the stories of struggles and successes of some top brewers in Colorado including, New Belgium, Oskar Blues, Avery Brewing Company, Tommyknocker, Upslope, including much more. This film is set to debut in the Summer of 2011.
“The inaugural Short Pour Film Festival on the subject of beer, which was announced last August, was judged last weekend. The films will debut at the Monterey Beer Festival on June 5th, 2010, from 12:30pm to 5pm.” The Winning Film, along with the entire One Hour & Twenty Minute Program, will be shown in the historic ”King City Room”, a 10,000 square foot building at the Monterey Fairgrounds (home to The Monterey Jazz Festival & The Monterey Blues Festival).
The overall winner is “The Swagger Stagger” in San Francisco by Sayre Piotrkowski, which you can watch below.
The runner-up was by the Beer Nation Show and titled “Legend of Craft Beer Bandit” by Mike Winn & Seth Wright.
The winners will also be screened at this year’s Great American Beer Festival in Denver, September 16-18.
We were watching Smokin’ Aces 2: Assassins’ Ball last night — quick review: mildly entertaining action adventure with cartoon violence and not much of a plot. Most of the best bits were in the trailer.
Anyway, a good portion of the film takes place in a bar. One of the beers served is Bell’s Oberon. There’s a prominent tap handle of it on the bar, where one scene takes place. When the frame part of the scene at one point, the Bell’s logo along with the Oberon label can be seen in the foreground on the left-hand side of the frame. And at several more points, either the Bell’s or Oberon graphics can be seen. I don’t know if Larry Bell paid for product placement or if someone who made the film was a big fan. Either way, that was fun to see.
Please indulge me for a moment as I go off topic, beery news will follow. Regular Bulletin readers will know I’m a huge fan of the late stand-up comedian Bill Hicks, who died in 1994. Even though he’s been gone 16 years, his comedy is as fresh and relevant as it was then, a testament to how far ahead of his time he was and how universal his message was. I saw his act live at least a dozen times, probably more, and even had the pleasure of meeting him after a show once and chatting briefly. At every one of those shows, at least one person, and sometimes more, would get offended and leave. That was because Hicks challenged his audiences to not just laugh at his jokes, but to think about ideas and consider inequities in the world. In short, he made some people feel uncomfortable who weren’t ready to confront the world’s hypocrisies and their role in them. He was nothing short of a genius in that regard. Since his death, his popularity has continued to grow in the UK, where people “got” Bill. Over here, sadly, he’s been largely forgotten.
But there’s a new documentary film coming out, American: The Bill Hicks Story, and it’s premiering tonight in the U.S. at the SXSW Festival in Austin, Texas. There’s also a Facebook page for the film. No word yet on when or if it will get a wide theater release, but fingers crossed, you’ll be able to see it soon at a theater near you. As the filmmakers have asked people to help them spread the word about the film, below is the trailer for it. If it comes to your town, go see it. I can’t, of course, vouch for the film-making (though the trailer looks good), I can vouch for the subject matter. Bill Hicks deserves to be more widely known, and especially the ideas he espoused during his lifetime.
I confess I knew it was coming, but now that it’s here, I couldn’t be more thrilled for Anat Baron and her film, Beer Wars. Starting tomorrow, February 1, the film’s reach should extend beyond the well-insulated beer community. It will then be available to watch online, on your television or gaming console thanks to a deal Ms. Baron inked with a big-time distributor.
From the press release:
How did this happen? Well this David (me) made a deal with Goliath — Warner Bros. — to distribute the film. You should know that very few independent films, let alone documentaries, ever get this far, especially without a big name like Michael Moore or major festival buzz. I am humbled and elated that this movie will be available to tens of millions of people.
But I still need your help. Just because it’s available doesn’t mean that people know anything about it. Without word-of-mouth it could just sit there without any takers. So please, tell everyone you know by forwarding this email, or posting on Facebook and/or tweeting on Twitter. We even have web banners should you want to display them on your site or blog. You’ll not only be helping this indie filmmaker, but you’ll help convince studios like Warner Bros. to continue supporting these kind of films.
I think this is great news. Whatever you thought of the film, in my experience the people who got the most out of it were the people who knew the least about the beer industry going in. This distribution deal through on-demand and for download will make it available to a wider swath of the population, and many more of the people who I think need to see it. If only a fraction of the mainstream public sees the film and is moved or motivated by it to at least sample craft beer, then it will be a great victory for better beer.
Below is the nuts and bolts of how it can be seen, starting tomorrow. Spread the word to all your non-beer geek pals.
In the U.S., Beer Wars is available to rent on demand through Digital Cable and Satellite providers Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Cox, Cablevision, Charter, Insight, Bresnan, Verizon FiOS, AT & T U-Verse, Dish Network and DirecTV. It is also available for download on iTunes, Amazon Video On Demand, Xbox 360 and PS3.