Short of the Week

Inventor Portrait: Ralph Baer

Retirement is for people who work, not for people who live. David Friedman’s short but inspirational portrait of inventor Ralph Baer.

While not the most exemplary short film in its cinematic qualities, Inventor Portrait: Ralph Baer is one of the most inspiring short documentaries I’ve ever seen. It is a great example of the increasingly predominant breed of short films on the web, incredibly short profiles by photographers acting as directors. The improvement of DSLR cameras created a new generation of wanna-be-filmmakers with easy to afford equipment, so it only makes sense that traditional photographers take to making short films about the subjects they point their lens at for still images – adding their trained point of view to moving images.

Such is the case with David Friedman’s Inventor Portrait web series, in which he captures several inventors of different scale regarding the impact of their inventions. For me the most fascinating protagonist of this series is Ralph Baer, usually known as the inventor of video games. At 90 years old, he still follows his passion of inventing and developing games, looking for a challenge.

The simplicity and the film’s touching and inspiring protagonist’s story, paired with the short running time, is another reason why I wanted to single out this special episode: Like a song you listen to many times, I tend to watch Inventor Portrait: Ralph Baer every now and then to motivate myself in finding a fullfilling life-goal worth pursuing.

Georg Csarmann is a filmmaker, media academic and writer based in Vienna, Austria. Grounded in his own creative work as well as his experience as a curator and his enthusiasm for the moving image, Georg dedicated his main focus to the possibilities of expression for independent content creators.
  • Nick Wetta

    so cool how this man’s story is told in under 3 min or so. makes one want to find more passion in life/work.

  • Ramon Thomas

    I agree Nick. Just from 3 mins he is more interesting to me than Ray “Singularity” Kurzweil