Published On: Wed, Aug 18th, 2010
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Film Project seeking Subjects

 

An Asheville-based, life-story-film company is launching a community service film project and inviting Western North Carolina residents, including residents of the Qualla Boundary, to participate as recording recipients or sponsors … hopeful the project will ultimately spur support for the creation of a separate, nonprofit film foundation.

Through its business, Storied Life Films, LLC captures and preserves the personal life stories of grandmothers, fathers, and others … traveling to clients’ homes; setting up professional-quality video, audio and lighting equipment; casually interviewing clients; and delivering the basic recording, or edited film, on DVD.

Through its community film project, “Stories to Tell & Voices to Keep,” Storied Life Films, LLC will produce 12 free, basic recorded interviews and 12 half-cost, basic recorded interviews, throughout the next year, for Western North Carolinians diagnosed with a terminal illness – or a serious, potentially life-threatening illness, including Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, organ failure and other illnesses – who would otherwise be unable to fund a recording.

“Whether interviewing someone who is ill or healthy, our goal and tone will not vary,” said company founder, Beth Ledbetter Chester, a former reporter. 

“We want to evoke and capture the sparkle in a father’s eyes, the heartiness of a grandfather’s laugh, and the unique gestures of a mother’s hand, while helping our subjects recount the stories of their lives … the joys and struggles; successes and failures; and nuggets of wisdom to be gleaned from their journeys.” 

Additional recordings have already been sponsored by the project’s initial Founding Sponsors, including:

•12 Bones Smokehouse, Asheville, one full-cost recording and one half-cost recording; 

•The Corner Kitchen, Asheville, one full-cost recording in memory of Grace Lackey, formerly of Asheville;

• Freeman’s Mini Storage, Swannanoa, the project’s first official sponsor, one half-cost recording in honor of Lynne Freeman’s mother, Sara Capps, 85, Asheville, a lung cancer survivor; and 

• Farm Bureau Insurance of Asheville, one half-cost recording.

Storied Life Films, LLC is hopeful the project will grow during its inaugural year, making free and low-cost recorded interviews available to many more Western North Carolinians facing serious illness. 

To encourage participation, the company is reducing project recording fees by $100, almost 25%, and inviting other businesses, organizations and individuals to sponsor additional recordings.  

Founding sponsors will be recognized on the project’s web page, at www.storiedlifefilms.com throughout the project’s first year, ending August 24, 2011, under the heading, “Our Community Service Film Project.” 

Sponsors may choose to specify the county of residence and specific illness of recipients.

“Someone who has experienced lung cancer, breast cancer, Alzheimer’s disease or other illnesses in the family might prefer to sponsor a recording for someone struggling with the same challenge,” said Chester,” and make that sponsorship in honor, or in memory, of the sponsor’s loved one.”  

Honorarium information will be included on the project web page and a recording credits page. 

Encouraging individuals to participate, the first four who sponsor as individuals, couples, or family units, with $350, full-cost recording sponsorships, will receive dinner certificates for two at The Corner Kitchen in Asheville, valued at $75. 

The project also welcomes half-cost recording sponsorships at $175.  Half-cost sponsors determine whether their gift may be combined with another, creating one full-cost recording, and allowing the recipient to pay only sales tax and travel, based upon mileage from Asheville.

Sponsors may choose to forward half of their sponsorship funds to the WNC church of their choice, for safe keeping until recording completion, but must first obtain project documents which must be agreed to and signed by all parties before opting to involve a third party.

Residents of Western North Carolina’s twelve most western counties, including residents of the Qualla Boundary, with an eastern line of Yancey, Buncombe, and Henderson counties, who meet project criteria, are invited to register for recordings.

Recordings will be awarded through multiple random drawings during the project’s first year, with the first drawing August 31, and a registration deadline of 6 p.m., August 30.  At least 25% of sponsorships received by August 30 will be awarded in the first drawing. 

Individuals with a life expectancy of three years or less, and certain Alzheimer’s, and similarly affected patients, will be given preferential treatment in otherwise random drawings.  However, all diagnosed with a potentially life-threatening illness, as defined by the project, who are unable to fund this service, are encouraged to register … including cancer patients successfully treated with surgery, chemotherapy, etc., while continuing to be at significant risk. 

Potential recording recipients and sponsors should visit the project web page, or contact Storied Life Films, LLC, for specific details and definitions.  Project sponsorships are not tax deductible, since the company is not a nonprofit, tax-exempt organization.  

By October, the company’s founder is hopeful its community service film project will have generated support toward the eventual creation of a separate, nonprofit film foundation, governed by a board of directors.

“My hope is that a nonprofit film foundation would guarantee more extensive, edited films for young, terminally ill patients under the age of 30 … as well as financially indigent, terminal patients with children under the age of 23,” she said.

“Ultimately, I envision a network of university film and journalism students, as well as recent graduates – serving as interns, paid and unpaid apprentices, volunteers, and traditional paid staff  – allowing the foundation to provide this gift across the country.”

Through the business, its community film project, and her hope for the creation of a nonprofit film foundation, Chester’s goal is to launch a movement, she said, “helping everyone understand how important it is to capture the essence and the stories of their loved ones’ lives in quality images and sound, no matter how ordinary those lives may seem.” 

It’s a desire rooted in the sudden death of her father in 2006 and an interview she and her husband had recorded with him six years earlier, as he was seated in his living room chair, long before his lung cancer diagnosis.

She hopes to launch the film foundation and begin its operations in WNC.  “I am seeking advice, insight from film students, personal experiences, and assistance from those who support the creation of the foundation,” she said. 

“I will move forward to create a nonprofit if I receive enthusiastic feedback and pledges of contributions to cover legal fees totaling approximately $4,000.” 

Legal expenses include nonprofit incorporation and organization; application for federal tax-exempt, 501(c)(3) status; and initial operating advice, she said.  Once formed, if granted tax-exempt status, the foundation would seek operating grants from major charitable foundations. 

Those interested in funding the creation of a foundation should not make contributions now.  “I prefer the nonprofit be a legal entity, with board members identified, before contributions are made,” said Chester.

Instead, she asks those interested in supporting the creation of a film foundation to contact her at Storied Life Films, LLC and indicate that desire.

For more information on becoming a recording recipient or sponsor through Storied Life Films, LLC’s August launch of its community service film project, “Stories to Tell & Voices to Keep,” contact the company at 828-989-3966; by email to beth@storiedlifefilms.com; or by mail to P.O. Box 18012, Asheville, NC 28814.

Source: Storied Life Films

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