When fledgling filmmakers Damon and Eric Ristau put together their first feature, The Best Bar in America, they had their priorities more or less in order. “We set out to make a move about one man’s journey—a very simple story that we think everyone can relate to on a certain level,” one brother offers.
“And we wanted to make a movie about bars,” the other adds later, almost as an interjection.
He wasn't kidding, at least not completely. To make the movie, a fictional story that follows the travels of a man who sets out to write a bar guidebook, they visited at least 65 bars in the West. Fifty or so made it into the film.
The result is a debut feature the brothers describe as "a labor of love." The Montana-based filmmakers, who run their own production company, Firewater Film Company
, talk about the film with a mixture of enthusiasm and relief.
"In a nutshell, it’s about self-discovery: a man who’s on the road, and he’s more blind when the journey begins, and through him meeting a variety of different people and characters along the way, his eyes are opened to the world and kind of a better sense of himself,” Damon says. "It’s our first feature film co-directing together, and it was an experiment. And now, it’s pretty amazing that it’s almost done.”
The brothers plan to put a rough cut in front of a hometown audience next month, and they have begun to shop the movie around to festivals. In the meantime, check out the trailer below and follow blog updates on the movie here