What is This About?
In December 2010, Abraxas Productions of Austin, Texas finished the feature length documentary BLAZE FOLEY: DUCT TAPE MESSIAH, directed and produced by Kevin Triplett.
After 12 years (six years of research including 2 years of interviews and adventure, fact finding, myth separation and parties with friends of Blaze’s, a few years of legal wrangling, and another five years of finding funding and editing), the documentary is finally at a fine cut! It’s now being color corrected and getting its sound mixed so that it can premiere in 2011 at film festivals and theaters around the country. That’s right, we’re taking Blaze on the road and bringing him to you!
The documentary is scheduled for completion by the end of December with an Austin premiere tentatively in mid-February. We’ll have a sneak peek, private screening at Yelof’s on December 15th, a music venue in Athens, Texas run by Marsha Weldon, Blaze’s sister.
It’s difficult to imagine why no one has produced a documentary about Blaze, aside from the logistics of such a project (he constantly moved and lived in Georgia, Chicago, Houston and finally settled in Austin, and he knew A LOT of people). Most likely, it’s because he’s pretty much unknown outside of Austin. I first learned of Blaze through my cousin Jon around 1993 when he sent me a demo tape of the Blaze Foley tribute project.
The Tribute Project
Jon was working with Ryan Rader on a project to record all of Blaze’s known songs for posterity. Ryan was concerned that the songs would be forgotten or changed, since there weren’t any recordings that people could learn the music by or just plain buy. So they brought musicians who knew Blaze into the studio and let each of them pick their favorite Blaze Foley song to record.
When I moved to Austin in 1995 and started visiting with Jon, he would spin these incredible stories about Blaze, never repeating the same story. Over time I developed a mental picture of who Blaze might have been.
From Jon, I met many people who knew Blaze. Through their personal stories it became clear that he was still remembered, had influenced many people and the artifacts of his life were cherished. Slowly, the idea of producing a documentary about Blaze was born. Without any hope of making money (Filmmaker’s rule #1: Stay away from documentaries, documentaries do not make money), I picked up my trusty No. 2 pencil and composition book and started interviewing people.
Why do This?
Why am I doing this? Good question — sometimes I don’t even know why. Blaze is not a star or a celebrity. His life and his pursuit of his destiny has captured my imagination. I see the documentary unfolding in my mind and it’s compelling. I believe that Blaze’s life has the power to capture people’s attention and give new insight into the human condition, artistic expression, justice and redemption. He courageously questioned what most people took for granted, challenged conventional perceptions and was a crusader for children, the weak, the poor, the working class, and the underdog.
I also love documentaries … they give insight into a range of issues and show how people live. I’ve since learned that producing a documentary forces self-examination … I’ve learned quite a bit about myself from Blaze.
Who are You?
Director, Producer, Chief Bottle Washer
I grew up in a family of photographers, splicing Super8 film of silly skits acted out by my friends. I went on to college and got a couple degrees in electrical engineering and did that gig for over fifteen years. in 1998, I re-discovered my love of filmmaking and storytelling. Over the past four years, I’ve produced four short films, three music videos, a dozen promotional videos for corporations and non-profits, and currently I’m wrapping up a feature-length documentary on the Spacek family home in Granger. I’m also a fifth-generation Texan on both sides of my parents.
With my accent, many people think that I’m from somewhere in the Midwest or Canada. My ancestors arrived in Texas during the second land grant offered by Stephen F. Austin. So my family’s been here awhile, mostly in central Texas but I have kin in the west, east and south parts of Texas, including the panhandle.
I’m looking forward to releasing Blaze to the world and bringing his story and songs to you soon!
— Kevin Triplett