Slapstick shorts that are funny and useful

One of our favorite things about the proliferation of Web video is that it gives us the opportunity to see more shorts and commercials by cool directors. A group that has really mastered Web video is the Directors Bureau, a consortium of filmmakers that includes Sofia Coppola and Nash Edgerton; the latter has produced a small, clever gem: Bavaria Stuntmail.

Sponsored by the Dutch beer Bavaria, Stuntmail is a promotional site that features real stuntmen getting hit by cars and being set ablaze — in videos you can personalize and send as e-mails to your friends.

The 21st-century Hallmark-card equivalent of an interactive arcade game, Stuntmail compresses the roller-coaster thrill ride of an action movie into a 30-second clip. Edgerton, a stuntman himself, knows how to exploit Web video with a gleeful inventiveness that recalls the animation heyday of “Tom and Jerry” and “Looney Tunes.”

“>WATCH a Bavaria Stuntmail sample video

“>WATCH another Bavaria Stuntmail sample video

“>SEND your own Bavaria Stuntmail

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Slapstick shorts that are funny and useful