The Story Behind The Telling of The Story
I first heard of Chris Williams and his remarkable act of forgiveness through my Grandmother back in early 2007. Grandma Dorothy lived in Chris’s nostalgic Sugar House neighborhood, where Chris was serving as the Bishop of her ward. For those of you who don’t know what a Bishop is, it’s a local leadership role in the LDS Church, essentially a lay clergyman, a person who volunteers much of their time to leading, aiding, serving, and spiritually guiding people. Chris was my grandmother’s Bishop. To reiterate, a Bishop donates an enormous amount of time and energy to the spiritual well-being of those in his congregation, this is something not mentioned in the video which I feel adds to the dynamics at work in Chris’s story.
When Grandma Dorothy related me the tragic event, I was immediately drawn to it and soon related the story to Patrick in our early morning meeting we would hold each day. We had both been researching many tragic stories at the time and had been trying to figure out a way to use them as a vehicle to peek into the lives of individual’s who have been deeply affected by a travesty. The documentary would then delve into their view of God in the face of their extreme circumstances. We wanted to let these individuals, both those enamored as well as those embittered toward God, speak about their unique circumstance and how those situations either drew them closer to God or further apart.
Three months after the accident I called Chris. I introduced myself as a no-name filmmaker that wanted to come make a movie about his tragic experience. Even as I’m writing this, I almost feel the insensitivity seeping through my memory, I mean it was literally 3 months after the accident, and there I was asking him to relive it again on film. Fortunately, because of who Chris is, he graciously agreed. As I look back at it now, I have no idea why he allowed us in, most likely because Grandma Dorothy is the nicest human being on the planet, and with that, he must have assumed that the apple hadn’t fallen too far from the tree.
We interviewed Chris, shot some B-roll, and then before we knew it, three years had passed. Other business matters pushed our ability to fully pursue the documentary, and a steep recession shifted our focus away from client work and honed our focus on telling compelling stories, something that has always been a part of Patrick and myself.
Out of nowhere, Patrick and I found ourselves working for the LDS Church producing Mormon Messages (who would have ever guessed?), and we had just wrapped a story about Victor Guzman, a man who survived the September 11th attacks. I was then commissioned to come up with another concept for a Mormon Message. The deadline was tight, and I had to find something fast. It was that very day, a late fall afternoon, when an unexpected email arrived to my inbox, it was from Chris Williams.
In the email Chris asked about the interview we had shot three years earlier, wondering what had ever come of the material. I soon called him and said, “Chris, do you want tell your story and do it right? I now have the time and resources.” He agreed and we again started from scratch to design a short film solely about Chris’s journey of forgiveness.
The process of making this film has taught me a lot of patience. When we first started the feature length documentary concept, it’s all we wanted to do, to dedicate all our time to it. Yet, it didn’t work out. I have learned that God is fully aware of our innermost desires, and as long as we work toward educating our desires to align them more with those he’d have for us, the merging of desires and wishes will come to fruition in the timeframe and in the way our Father in Heaven wants them to. Had we finished Chris’s story back in 2007, we would have never had been able to focus on his story alone, and we never would have been able to distribute it in such a way to a target audience the piece deserved.
“One day, when we look back at the seeming coincidences of our lives, we will realize that perhaps they weren’t so coincidental after all.”
– Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin
Originally, this piece started off with Mr. Williams quoting the following statement from Jesus of Nazareth, as found in the New Testament. To me, this is the principle theme laced through the film:
Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
- Producer: Christopher S. Clark
- Directors: C.S. Clark & Patrick H. Parker
- Director of Photography: Patrick H. Parker & C.S. Clark
- Gaff/Grip/All-around amazing guy: Christopher Peck
- Editor: C.S. Clark
- Colorist: C.S. Clark
- Music: Rob Elliot
The Gear Used
- Shot on: Canon 5D Mk II
- Editorial: Final Cut Pro
- Motion Graphics: Motion
- Color Grading: Apple Color