Appropriately enough, the star of the short film “Man With Beard” would not stand up at the final Q & A after it showed with Status Pending at Cinequest. Though still a man with beard, Miki Hellerbach seemed as humble and perplexed by his local fame in downtown San Jose as his character is with his worldwide domination of the cultural zeitgeist.
A crisp compact satire of how easily we become obsessed over nothing, director Abie Axen’s short follows the titular Man with Beard (we never learn his real name) as he goes about his day. And everywhere he goes, people seem startled and awestruck by his presence. The secret of why is revealed by a would-be groupie (Canelle Boughton), whose excited and knowing energy makes a good counterpoint to Hellerbach’s haplessness.
The short was funny and thought-provoking, and a great companion piece to Ben Zolnos’ Status Pending, though their approaches are very different. Both discuss the power and the curse of social media. Though you probably won’t be able to catch them together again, both are worth seeking out. If “Man With Beard” becomes available on the internet, we’ll post it on Fanboy Planet.