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Nov
21
7

A Star is Born: Sam Calagione


This was originally shown at the Alamo Draft House in April 2008 as part of the Dogfish Head Off-Centered Film Festival.

It’s about fucking time. BREW MASTERS starring Sam Calagione starts tonight on Discovery Channel.

I first met Sam at the Great American Beer Festival in September of 2005. I told him then that he was going to be a star. He seemed embarrassed. But it was easy to see from our very first interview that here was a guy who was the real deal and a natural in front of the camera.

I got to know Sam over the 3 years it took to make the film. He allowed my crew into his home, his business, and into his head. I shot over 35 hours of footage with him in multiple locations across the country. And the rule of thumb worked – about one minute per hour made it into the film. There are so many gems that didn’t fit into the bigger story. Someday I hope to open the “vault” and share.

And Sam has been very gracious since the film came out. He showed up on premiere night in Los Angeles to be with a panel of his peers and at film festivals since then to help promote the film.

And yet he gets flak from “beer geeks” for being overexposed. Seriously, it’s time to stop. Yes, he’s a rock star. Celebrate it. He’s the guy Discovery picked to be the face of BREW MASTERS. And since it’s a positive message he’s espousing, he’s having no problem getting media attention. And that can only help craft beer.

I hope the show does well. I hope Discovery gives the wider TV audience a chance to well, discover it. I haven’t seen any episodes yet but since the show’s producers are also behind Anthony Bourdain’s NO RESERVATIONS, I think it’s safe to go in with high expectations.

So break a leg Sam. I hope you remember me when…

Apr
16
1

Time flies when…

Today is the one-year anniversary of Beer Wars Live! A year ago, a distinguished panel including Charlie Papazian, Sam Calagione, Greg Koch, Ronda Kallman, Todd Alstrom and Maureen Ogle convened together with an audience of 800 at Royce Hall on the UCLA Campus in Los Angeles to broadcast the film and panel discussion live via satellite to 440 theatres nationwide.

Read the rest of this entry »

Nov
24
2

Thanksgiving

It’s been an amazing year. I finished my film. Released it theatrically and on DVD. And just closed the biggest deal yet which will get the movie into the mainstream. Announcement to come soon, I promise.

So much to be grateful for. Especially the supporters who believed in the film from the start (before they even saw it) and stood by it despite the naysayers. A big thanks to (in no particular order):
Read the rest of this entry »

Apr
13
53

Starting a Conversation

I chose this unique way for launching the film because I wanted to start a conversation. And it starts as soon as the film ends. I invited 6 people who appear in the film to sit on the panel and to be inclusive, 2 who are not.

Let’s start with the 2 you won’t see. I wanted the new heads of MillerCoors and Anheuser-Busch Inbev to provide their perspective. Tom Long from Miller Coors passed because he had a “conflict” while Dave’s Peacock’s “handlers” told me they’d get back to me. Tick tock. Read the rest of this entry »

Jan
14
10

Sometimes life doesn’t turn out the way you expect

Sometimes life does not turn out the way you expect. When I look back, I realize that releasing my film wasn’t “supposed to be” like this. When I started making this film, I was told by those who have been through this process before to do the following:

  • Finish film
  • Go to big film festival, Sundance, Toronto, Cannes, Berlin
  • Get a big check from a distributor who will get your film out there
  • Make your next film

Well, what I actually found is that a lot has changed since September 2005 when, on a lark, I took a crew of 7 to Las Vegas to film the annual beer industry convention.

Sam Calagione, one of the “stars” of my film told a small crowd when he was in LA a recently: “Anat is like a craft brewer, she wants to get her film just right.”

True enough. I wanted to make the best possible film. But by taking my time, I also seemed to miss the “window” when documentary films were big news and were getting rich distribution deals.

But now that I’ve given up on that fantasy, the reality is actually more exciting. I get to make the decisions and shepherd my film without having “suits” make decisions for me.

This new world of bypassing the middleman is very exciting. I get to have real conversations with the audience, respond to your needs and make this whole process a lot more fun.

That’s why instead of putting up a static brochure site, I decided to launch a blog. Sure you can get lots of information on the film but I’m going to keep you in the loop so you can be part of the launch and rollout of the film. And the best part is that you can participate in the dialogue by providing your comments here and also on Facebook, Twitter and MySpace.

Oenophiles have SIDEWAYS and BOTTLE SHOCK; now their beer-loving counterparts can claim a film as their own.
- Rotten Tomatoes
A David and Goliath story pitting the country's smallest brewers against the largest.
- CNN
Beer Wars: Brewed in America, is an eye-opening, funny and righteously infuriating documentary by first-time filmmaker Anat Baron. Her film (think of it as Suds: A Love Story) is also a pretty damning indictment of not just the beer industry but contemporary unfettered unregulated capitalism's disturbing excesses.
- Box Office Magazine
In Beer Wars, entrepreneurialism and opportunity go awry when tainted by greed and a thirst for power.
- Los Angeles Times
Beer Wars certainly raises some interesting questions, the most potent of which is, is this what capitalism is meant to be?
- New Times
For those who are keeping the American dream alive, this spirited documentary raises a toast.
- St Louis Post-Dispatch
A trenchant analysis unapologetic in its rebuke of Big Beer, Beer Wars is heartily recommended for patrons already inclined to opt for the local brew at every tap. It will also appeal to patrons interested in craft foods as well as homebrewed beer and wine and others particular about quality.
- Library Journal