Grandpa: "What is clayton doing?"
GRANDMA: "HE'S WORKING ON HIS MOVIE."
GRANDPA: "I SURE HOPE HE STICKS WITH THAT."
The quotes above were something I overheard in the hospital room of my Grandfather, J.L. Tramel. I was editing my college student thesis film on my laptop, and Grandma was sitting next to Grandpa in his hospital bed. He was recovering from a stroke, and our family spent the next 8 months huddled around our Patriarch. As it turns out I did stick with making movies, and my next film would be about the man who said he hoped I would.
During this last year of his life I spent quite a bit of time with Grandpa, just the two of us. He was 78 and nearing the end of his life. I was 22 and just becoming an adult. As I looked at a man who was fading surrounded by a loving family, a legion of friends, a life time of memories, and an unwavering assurance of his salvation, I wondered what it took for him to get there. What is that road map?
"TELL ME A STORY: the life of J.L. Tramel" is a project very close to my heart. As a filmmaker you look for stories that resonate with you for any number of reasons. Not only did this story deal with subjects that intrigued me, but it was the story of my family. My Grandpa. My Dad. Me.
It all started with one interview with Grandpa. He wasn't in great health but allowed my request to talk on camera. It was an interview that was much too short and yet perfect unto itself. This led to more interviews with siblings, children, friends and Grandma. Then to a fantastic collection of actors and craftsman helping me tell a story that was worth being told.
I hope you enjoy the picture. It was made out of love. It examines the uncertainty we all walk through at some point, and celebrates the best things that are rewarded to a life well led.