Cinequest 2018: “Man With Beard”

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.

About Derek McCaw
In addition to running Fanboy Planet, Derek has written for ActionAce, Daily Radar, Once Upon A Dime, and The Wave. He has contributed stories to Arcana Comics (The Greatest American Hero) and Monsterverse Comics (Bela Lugosi's Tales from the Grave). He performs with ComedySportz San Jose and ShakesBEERience, in addition to occasional screenwriting and acting jobs. If you ever played Eric's Ultimate Solitaire on the Macintosh, it was Derek's voice as The Weasel that urged you to play longer. You can buy his book "I Was Flesh Gordon" on the Amazon link at the right. Email him at