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Documentary Film on Backshore Brewing Company

(Oct. 7, 2014) Independent filmmaker and author Chip Hiden aims to document the explosive growth of craft beer in his new production, “Blood, Sweat, and Beer,” which will present the stories of two start-up breweries, one of them local.

The film, which awaits additional financing, follows Backshore Brewing Company’s sometimes-trying journey to its successful location on 10th Street and the Boardwalk. Also in front the lens is The Brew Gentlemen Beer Company of Braddock, Pa.

Hiden and co-director Alexis Irvin go into the backstory of how these small operations came to be and their struggles to succeed. Backshore Brewing Company, for instance, awaits the verdict in a trademark lawsuit that arose when the local pub debuted as Shorebilly’s.

Unbeknownst to owner Danny Robinson, another local entity had already trademarked that name, forcing Robinson to adopt the Backshore moniker for the operation just as it was gaining some attention.

The Brew Gentleman Beer Company, meanwhile, follows a trio of 23-year-olds: Matt, Asa and Brandon. They hope their craft brewery will help save and bring jobs back to their once prosperous steel town. The town suffers from decades of neglect, population loss and violence.

“I think it is great that their film is giving a behind-the-scenes look at the obstacles involved with starting up a brewery. It is intriguing that the founders of Brew Gentleman Beer Company are very young and it shows how you need to be smart and brave through the tough times. The odds are against you,” Robinson said.

The film also explores the cultural and economic impacts of craft beer in the United States through these two breweries. For 15 months, the filmmakers traveled to 14 states and interviewed more than 100 brewery experts.

Hiden and Irvin have funded the entirety of this project with their personal savings. They have completed the producing, directing, cinematography, editing, motion graphics, sound and travel costs on their own. Once the documentary is completed, they plan to release special copies of it on DVD with interviews and bonus footage.

“In short, we will be exploring every possible distribution option we can to get this film out there. We have learned as independent filmmakers that you need a plan, a back-up plan and a back-up for the back-up plan. We are shooting for the stars with this movie, and we are determined to share ‘Blood, Sweat, and Beer’ with as many craft beer and film lovers as possible,” vows Hiden and Irvin.

To help raise the money, they put their project on Kickstarter, with an all-or-nothing goal of $12,000 to be raised by Nov. 2, 2014. They need the funds to put the final touches on the documentary and to cover distribution costs.

“We are hoping people will find out about the project and spread the word,” Hiden said.

Should that not happen, Hiden and Irvin plan to continue funding the venture in hopes they will make the money back at some point.

The duo has been self-distributing the film through their web site and have joined with the indie film-hosting platform, VHX. A nationwide tour is in the works for 2015, which would help generate buzz and reviews.

They also have been contacting beer festival organizers and independent movie theater owners to set up screenings. Their dream is to be noticed by a distributor who will help introduce the film to larger audiences.

As of press time, they have made $4,393 and have 26 days to make $12,000 or they will not receive any money. To donate to this project, go to http://kck.st/1mjlFRV.

Backshore Brewing Company on 10th Street and the Boardwalk is the subject of a new documentary “Blood, Sweat, and Beer” by Chip Hiden and Alexis Irvin

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