Local Santa documentary to air Tuesday on PBS

-A A +A

‘They Wore the Red Suit’ produced in Tell City by Power Plant Productions

TELL CITY – The locally produced documentary, “They Wore the Red Suit – the Director’s Cut,” will air 7 p.m. Tuesday on WNIN Evansville Channel 9 during their summer pledge-drive campaign.

Director Larry Peter of Power Plant Productions in Tell City thinks this is the perfect way to introduce the film to the region where the Christmas industry had its origins.

“This film ended up being a community effort in many ways. It was local support that helped us get the video finished,” said Peter. “WNIN is always supportive of programming about our area, so I was glad to offer this documentary to be featured in their pledge drive.”

Peter’s previous documentary, “The Art of Living,” has aired on WNIN from 2011 to the present.

“They Wore the Red Suit” follows the film’s director in his attempt to recapture the magic of visiting with Santa as a child, eventually leading to a two-year journey into the secretive world of professional Santas.

Following the men in red from California to Rhode Island, the film looks behind-the-scenes into schools, workshops and theme parks, hearing incredible and heart-warming stories of the work these year-round Santas do. The pledge-drive airing will be of a special director’s cut of the film that focuses on the origins of the Christmas industry in Santa Claus.

The documentary also tells the story of Raymond (Jim) Yellig, one of the most beloved and legendary Santas of all time. Yellig was known as the “Real Santa” from Santa Claus.

Born in the small village of Mariah Hill, Yellig would become the face of Santa Claus, Indiana, for 54 years. In December 2010, Jim Yellig was honored as one of the original 14 inaugural inductees into the prestigious International Santa Claus Hall of Fame (www.santaclaushall.com).

Peter was invited to a filmmaker’s panel at the Conrad Hotel in Indianapolis earlier this month, where he joined directors Jonathan Frey of Indianapolis and Christopher Smith from New York to speak to a crowd of 300 members of the Contemporary Club about their film projects.

He was asked about the difficulties of filmmaking in a small Indiana town.

“Unlike working in larger markets where there is a film industry to support you, you need community support – and that means doing as much as you can for your community,” he said. “A documentary filmmaker spends a lot of time asking for things. You want to make sure you give as much as you expect to receive.”

He was also asked why it is important to make films here in Indiana.

“I believe the kind of people that live here are more representative of America as a whole than are people from Hollywood and New York, yet they dictate the entertainment we watch,” he said. “They even try to define us through the characters they create.” Peter received a rousing ovation when he concluded, “I think we should be the ones telling the world who we are.”

For more information about “They Wore the Red Suit” and to view the trailer, visit: www. the santamovie.com.