WASH November 2011 : Page 74

74 | the RADAR | film | Film Premier A DC transplant recasts the old home movie. | By Danny Harris | Photography by Nicole Wolf | Sure, genealogy has long been the purview of the blue-hairs and small-town historic societies. But whether you credit NPR’s überpopular oral history project StoryCorps or standup storytelling sessions at nightclubs throughout the country, a new generation has homed in on the family tree. One DC 20-something hopes to bring such legacy projects all the cutting-edge, high-tech and high-design tools for which hipsters are known. Breaking ranks with his Wharton-School peers, David Adelman is gunning to glamorize a pastime formerly left to the 8 mm. Testing his entrepreneurial mettle, the 29-year-old recently launched Reel Tributes (reeltributes.com), a film production company that works to capture the narratives of wired-in clans, whether they come from the perspective of the patriarchs or their heirs. Using high-definition video, boom mics and social media to crowdsource material from friends and relatives around the world, the firm cranks out an upmarket result. Picture Nana on E! True Hollywood Story . It’s a niche that Adelman thinks is ripe for mining. “These days, we know more about celebrities than we know about our own family,” he says. “We can draw the Kennedy family tree but not our own.” Given that Nov. 25 is the National Day of Listening, a StoryCorps -born holiday that encourages screening room reel Tributes’ founder and ceo David Adelman and filmmaker caleb green want to ensure your relatives r.i.P.—and in high-def. “These days, we know more about celebrities than we know about our own family. We can draw the Kennedy family tree but not our own.” Americans to record a Q&A with a loved one, Adelman wants to know: What are you waiting for? “Most people talk about capturing these stories for years,” he says, “but many times they wait until it’s too late.” Raised on a kibbutz in Israel, Adelman, himself the child of divorced parents, found the spark for his new high-tech venture after his grandmother died. Adelman’s mother spent eight months making a movie about her life, an exploration that took her around the world and led her to discover scores of new family members, including Israeli President Shimon Peres and the legendary actress Lauren Bacall. Despite the history and new connections that surfaced throughout the process, the film’s début at a family wedding left Adelman’s relatives lamenting that they hadn’t set the project in motion while his grandmother was alive. Instead of marking her death, they could have had a showing to celebrate her life. With that, the newly married Adelman jettisoned his private-equity pedigree and got into the memory business. His team includes an award-winning filmmaker, a professional instructor in genealogy, a personal historian and a social-media guru. Clients to date have ranged from a former governor to the University of Pennsylvania. Each tribute, starting at $5,000, is wholly customized. The format is dictated by a family’s wishes or the inspiration that relatives give Adelman’s cadre of creatives. “The common thread is that there’s a powerful story to tell, preserve and share with others,” he says. Revolutionizing what once fell in the same arts-and-craftsy category as scrapbooking, Adelman is redefining the lineage of oral histories one pixel at a time. November 2011

The Radar Film

Danny Harris

Film Premier<br /> <br /> A DC transplant recasts the old home movie.<br /> <br /> Sure, genealogy has long been the purview of the bluehairs and small-town historic societies. But whether you credit NPR’s überpopular oral history project StoryCorps or standup storytelling sessions at nightclubs throughout the country, a new generation has homed in on the family tree. One DC 20-something hopes to bring such legacy projects all the cutting-edge, high-tech and highdesign tools for which hipsters are known.<br /> <br /> Breaking ranks with his Wharton-School peers, David Adelman is gunning to glamorize a pastime formerly left to the 8 mm. Testing his entrepreneurial mettle, the 29-year-old recently launched Reel Tributes (reeltributes.com), a film production company that works to capture the narratives of wired-in clans, whether they come from the perspective of the patriarchs or their heirs. Using high-definition video, boom mics and social media to crowdsource material from friends and relatives around the world, the firm cranks out an upmarket result. Picture Nana on E! True Hollywood Story. It’s a niche that Adelman thinks is ripe for mining.“These days, we know more about celebrities than we know about our own family,” he says. “We can draw the Kennedy family tree but not our own.” <br /> <br /> Given that Nov. 25 is the National Day of Listening, a StoryCorps-born holiday that encourages Americans to record a Q&A with a loved one, Adelman wants to know: What are you waiting for? “Most people talk about capturing these stories for years,” he says, “but many times they wait until it’s too late.”<br /> <br /> Raised on a kibbutz in Israel, Adelman, himself the child of divorced parents, found the spark for his new high-tech venture after his grandmother died. Adelman’s mother spent eight months making a movie about her life, an exploration that took her around the world and led her to discover scores of new family members, including Israeli President Shimon Peres and the legendary actress Lauren Bacall.<br /> <br /> Despite the history and new connections that surfaced throughout the process, the film’s début at a family wedding left Adelman’s relatives lamenting that they hadn’t set the project in motion while his grandmother was alive. Instead of marking her death, they could have had a showing to celebrate her life. With that, the newly married Adelman jettisoned his privateequity pedigree and got into the memory business.<br /> <br /> His team includes an award-winning filmmaker, a professional instructor in genealogy, a personal historian and a social-media guru. Clients to date have ranged from a former governor to the University of Pennsylvania. Each tribute, starting at $5,000, is wholly customized. The format is dictated by a family’s wishes or the inspiration that relatives give Adelman’s cadre of creatives. “The common thread is that there’s a powerful story to tell, preserve and share with others,” he says.<br /> <br /> Revolutionizing what once fell in the same arts-andcraftsy category as scrapbooking, Adelman is redefining the lineage of oral histories one pixel at a time.

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