THE SHORT POUR Film Fest, to be held this weekend at the Great American Beer Festival in Denver, owes a big debt to the inventors of Steadicam.
Despite imbibing ample, sudsy portions of their feature subject, dozens of film directors somehow managed to keep their cameras focused long enough to produce a watchable body of work. The festival, the first devoted to short films about beer, includes more than two hours of original live action, animation, music videos and commercials.
“It’s really opened my eyes to how much media coverage and attention there is on beer, even way beyond what we see in TV commercials,” said the festival’s producer, Jeff Moses. “There’s been this explosion in videos, especially on the Internet, because craft beer is driving people to come out and film about it . . . It’s fascinating. The festival evolved into something I didn’t realize would happen. ”
Moses received more than 100 submissions, ranging from a quick, six-minute tour of San Francisco Beer Week to a professional music video of the Trailer Choir’s “Rockin’ the Beer Gut. ” There’s a report from the U.S. Beer Pong championship, a scene from the professional documentary “Beer Wars,” and vintage commercials for Stag, Piels and Falstaff.
Many of the videos are purely amateur efforts by creative bloggers. They rhapsodize about their favorite ales and lagers; sometimes they hit the road and interview the brewers who make them.
“Some of the pieces have a Wayne and Garth feel to them,” Moses said, referring to the comically earnest hosts of “Wayne’s World. ” “You have the wind blowing, the lighting’s all wrong, but they’re really fun. It’s not like wine, which is always so serious.
“You can tell these guys have such a love for beer. They’re creative people doing TV shows on the Web about beer . . . They’re forging the next step in the way beer is going to be looked at. They’re the cutting edge.
“They’re taking local and regional breweries, and publicizing them through their podcasts so the rest of us get to learn about their products. It will only make the industry bigger. ”
If you can’t make it to the Short Pour Film Fest, no sweat. You can put together your own beery film festival with a few clicks at YouTube.
Here are some starters.
_ “Step Away From the Unlicensed Ale or I’ll Shoot! ” An outstanding report on last spring’s state police beer bust that targeted a trio of city bars for selling unregistered brands, with inane testimony from the people responsible for the fiasco. http://is.gd/euQpc.
_ Joe Sixpack’s tour of Fairmount’s beer bars. It only took 150 takes. http://u.nu/77xue.
_ “Beer” music video by Reel Big Fish. “If I get drunk now, well, I’ll pass out on the floor and you won’t bother me no more.” http://u.nu/69xue.
_ “How to open a bottle of beer with a piece of paper. ” It’s called a $5 bill. Give it to a bartender and the bottle opens like magic. http://u.nu/5bxue.
_ Mr. Magoo Stag Beer commercials. In the golden age of TV, cartoon characters frequently shilled for beer. Look for Fred and Barney (Busch), Bert and Harry (Piels) and Hagar the Horrible (Skol), too. http://u.nu/3exue.
_ “The History of Beer. ” A slick production from the History Channel. http://u.nu/6ixue.
_ “Drinking Baby. ” We get them started young in Philly. http://u.nu/3jxue.
_ “Pouring Hefe. ” Avoid that nasty foam-over. http://u.nu/4kxue.
_ “Still Crazy After All These Beers. ” Dozens of videos from New Jersey beer guy Gary Monterosso. http://u.nu/9mxue.
_ “Pinchin’ Pennies” by the Pain Relievaz. Brewer Sam Calagione and the crew from Dogfish Head in full rap. http://u.nu/8qxue.
_ “Revolutionary Brewers” by Joe Bolletino. Which of America’s Founding Fathers would you like to drink with? http://u.nu/3k7ve.