Former Elk River resident releases DVD, graduates to movie sets in New York City

by Nancy Christenson
Special to the Star News
Filmmaker Christopher Michael Beer, a 2005 Elk River High School graduate, recently released the DVD, “Spill,” on Amazon.com.

It’s a collection of three short films he wrote, directed and produced over the past six years. One dark, one light-hearted and one meditative, all filmed around his education, they reflect his style’s development. “Anthill” was a college entrance submission; he produced “Liska” during a semester in Prague and “Metronome” after graduating from the University of Minnesota Twin Cities.

Chris Beer

“Metronome” is set in an assisted living facility, where “an old man suffering dementia and early onset Alzheimer’s realizes this is where the end of his life is going to take place,” explained Beer. Beer cast his father, George, as the old man.

The film is “based a lot in part on my grandmother. When I wrote (“Metronome”), my girlfriend’s grandfather was going through the same thing,” Beer said, “…that process of watching her grandfather’s life end” while he lived in a care facility. “It’s based on what she was going through and what I was going through with my grandma a few years ago, which also must have made it interesting for my dad to play the part because it was his mother.”

Although Beer’s grandmother lived in Guardian Angels By The Lake in Elk River and he based the location on that facility, it was filmed in Uptown Minneapolis.

“Metronome” will screen in Manhattan in New York City as part of a feature film collaborative. Earlier this year when Beer moved to New York City, one of the country’s two filmmaking hot spots, he knew one person. But his network has grown. Through word of mouth he’s landed work on six production sets so far, including “Captain America,” “Men In Black 3” and “The Avengers.” Of the industry Beer said, “It really is all about who you know.”

Through another connection, a professor invited Beer to speak with screen-writing students at New York University about being a young filmmaker and having confidence. He’ll return in the fall with his optimistic message.

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