You Want to Support An “Indie” Artist? Here’s Your Chance

The internet is full of chatter about supporting independent entrepreneurs. About “buying local.” About supporting self-published writers and indie films that flout Hollywood. About supporting open-source software.

You get my drift.

Time to put your money where your mouth is. I’ve mentioned Beer Wars here several times -- and to repeat the full disclosure: yes, I’m in the film. Yes, I’m friends with Anat Baron, who financed, produced, and directed the film.

But even if that were not the case, I’d still say: Support this film. Buy a ticket. See it on April 16.

Why? Because this documentary is the work of an independent film maker. There are no big names, and definitely no Big Bucks, involved. This film came straight out of Anat’s desire to tell a specific story.

No, not a story about Big Beer versus Pure Beer, as many people seem to think. Rather, she wanted to explore a larger, more universal matter: the nature of personal vision, ambition, and entrepreneurship.

Because Beer Wars isn’t about beer. She only used “beer” as a lens through which to document what happens when ordinary people pursue their dreams. As a result, it’s a film about both success and failure. (This is not a totally-happy-ending film.)

I’ve heard lots of chatter in the beer blogosphere from people who don’t want to see the movie. They object to Ben Stein as moderator of the live panel discussion that will follow the film. Fine. Leave when the film ends.

Some say they won’t bother to see it because the story of  Big Brewers versus Small Brewers is Old News. To which I say: it’s only “old news” if you’re ensconced in the beer world. But most Americans are not part of the beer world.

Finally, the beer-geek critics complain that the world keeps ignoring Craft Beer. They’re frustrated that 97% of Americans still drink Big Beer rather than local craft beer. But when someone tries to tell a story centered on craft beer, well, see the critiques above. Ain’t no pleasin’ some people.

But I hope you'll see the film for another, more personal reason. I'm a writer, and I know how hard it is to create something from nothing. To have an idea and pursue it from vision to printed page. Making movies, I've learned, is exactly like writing books: It requires self-discipline and dedication. It requires thousands of hours of work, oceans of blood, sweat, tears, and an infinite capacity for frustration, depression, and despair.

In short, making movies, like writing books, brewing beer, editing Wikipedia, or creating open-source softeware, demands personal passion.

It's hard for me to find words to express how much I admire Anat for her devotion to this project. She's spent three years of her life, and a whole lotta money, pursuing her vision, creating something from nothing.

So I hope you'll support an indie artist and her work. Beer Wars. April 16. In a theater near you. (And if it’s not in a theater near you, don’t blame Anat. The event will be beamed via satellite, and not every American movie theater is “wired” for satellite.)