Sunday, December 5, 2010

Focusing on Facial Hair

Every other year, men from all over the world gather to compete at the World Beard and Moustache Championships. The next edition is scheduled to be held in Trondheim, Norway in the spring of 2011, hosted by the Norwegian Moustache Club.

The documentary Tashalaska, which had its first rough cut screening last Tuesday, November 30th, is all about the previous edition of the competition. Held in Anchorage, Alaska in May of 2009, it the saw the United States claim 12 out of 18 categories to wrestle away World Champion bristle bragging rights from perennial title holder Germany.

Tashalaska co-star Keith

It's been a long, slow haul for the UK-based makers of Tashalaska, which focuses on three competitors at the Alaska event: older British gent Ted, a repeat champ in the Fu Manchu Partial Beard category; tattooed American Keith, king of the Freestyle Moustache; and David, an event organizer also with his eye on the Freestyle Beard bracket. The film is an outgrowth (sorry) of a three-minute 2007 short Tashtastic, which Mike Leigh praised as “brilliant and entertaining.” That one followed the aforementioned Keith at the previous World Championship held in Brighton, England.

The world of competitive facial hair is, like so may others, one unto itself, populated by all sorts of websites like Beard Team USA and the American Mustache Institute. If done right – and producer-director Tessa Morgan is currently busy working on a re-edit based on comments solicited at the November 30th screening - Tashalaska has a good chance of connecting.

[Tashalaska trailer]