Lefty Kreh passed away nearly two years ago, but memories of fly-fishing’s biggest ambassador endure. The American Museum of Fly Fishing has paid tribute to the long-time TFO advisor with a film — Time — which is expected to be released in a few months.
TFO chatted with Alex Ford of the Museum to discuss the project, which got significant contributions from TFO advisors Flip Pallot, Blane Chocklett and Bob Clouser. All were good friends with Lefty.
Below are excerpts of the interview.
TFO: What was your role in the film? Were you the editor, the producer? Did you come up with the idea. …?
AF: “We knew we wanted to do a film this year. I spent a lot of time looking for a great story that would not only highlight the legacy of fly fishing, but also involve the museum and its collection in Manchester, Vermont. … I remember reading a Fly Fisherman Magazine article that Flip wrote about driving up to Maryland to fish smallmouth streams with Lefty. That was the original idea and then we got the FlyLords crew involved. Then we talked to Flip, and Blane came on board as well. …”
TFO: When will the film be out? For people to see?
AF: “If we can get it in the F3T (the Fly Fishing Film Tour), that would be ideal. It will be finished by October 1st. That’s the deadline for that. Hopefully by early September, we will be ready to go.”
TFO: I know you’re in the editing process right now. How long is the film? Fifteen minutes? 20 minutes? An hour?
AF: “The film will be 10 minutes. Then there will be lots of clips around it. We did interviews with Blane, Flip and Bob Clouser. All were an hour each. We’re going to cut some of that into the main film, but of course we’re going to use that for other stuff as well.”
TFO: I know you’re not finished, but how long did it take to do the project?
AF: “From conception to finish, about a year. A lot of that was coordination and fundraising in the beginning. We shot the actual project in early June. It should be done around mid-September.”
TFO: I know you can’t give anything away in terms of content, but can you give us an idea of the narrative of the film, what people can expect?
AF: “It follows the relationship between Flip and Lefty, how unique that was and also Lefty’s influence on a personal level. Blane for instance ties a Game Changer (fly) on Lefty’s old vise and he fishes with some of his old Deceivers (from the Museum), things like that.”
TFO: Anything that you learned about Lefty that you didn’t know before? Everyone, I know, has a perception of him. It seems like everyone has a story about him. … Is there anything interesting about him that you learned from this project?
AF: “Generally how supportive he was of other people. On a more specific level, there’s a strain of anthrax named after him. He worked in a factory for a number of years. There were three guys who contracted anthrax. The way it manifested itself in him was never seen before. It’s rather unique.”
TFO: When there’s a project, there’s things that make it worthwhile. Anything with this film that made it particularly worthwhile?
AF: “With Bob Clouser, we didn’t know he’d be (near where we made the film), but he happened be staying a few minutes from Flip’s house. For me, it was so cool to be at Flip’s house. Here’s Bob Clouser and Blane Chocklett and we’re talking about Lefty Kreh and Flip as well. That was just amazing, seeing all these heroes in the sport all together to commemorate Lefty who’s a hero to them. It was humbling all around.”
TFO: How much did Flip and Blane help you out? What was their role in all of this?
AF: “They were both great. Blane had a story about the Gummy Minnow and how Lefty got him his first fly deal. They were both excited that the Museum was doing a project like this. They could not have been more accommodating. The first day of filming was intense. We went on for 12 hours. Everyone did what they needed to do to get it done. Then there was Flip with his professionalism in front of the camera. It was amazing. It was like watching an episode of Walker’s Cay Chronicles being made.”
TFO: Anything else you would like to add?
AF: “Lefty’s family donated a lot of his materials, a lot of his estate, to the museum. We have his tying desk. His flies. All sorts of books, DVDs. A lot of cool stuff.”
TFO: What’s the name of the film?
AF: “Right now we’re calling it Time. That came from Flip who said, ‘All I have is time.’ We didn’t plan that one out, but it resonated.’’
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