Local News Article About The Son's Film: "Pre-Do: Foresight in 20/20"
ANDERSON — Caleb Suttles has always had a lot to say.
These days, the 18-year-old Clemson University freshman works at the on-campus television station, CTV, and the university’s video production department. But before he was a college student, he was still working with a camera.
He’s liked photography since he was in elementary school.
“At my grandfather’s house, I’d always get him to pull out his VHS and we’d record stuff,” Suttles said. “I would sit there in front of his video camera, and I would talk about anything. That’s just something I never outgrew.”
It’s that passion, the desire to say something important, that pushed him to create the documentary film, “Pre-Do: Foresight in 20/20.”
It’s a two-hour film where he interviewed 50 local people — in nursing homes, law offices and at local charities — and asked them about what regrets they had in life.
Only some of those 50 interviews are captured on the film. But some of the people he’s featured on the film include former 10th Circuit Solicitor George Ducworth; Kelly Jo Barnwell, the director of the Jo Brown Senior Center in Anderson; and Anderson University Economics Professor Miren Ivankovic.
The purpose of the film, Suttles said, was to learn now, what others have learned later in life.
“This was an idea I had in the 10th grade,” he said. “I thought about it after I kept hearing a lot of adults say that they wish they knew then what they know now. I want to know now what I’ll need to know in the future.”
The film became a project that he took on his senior year at the Montessori School in Anderson.
He started interviewing people in August 2010 and finished in August 2011. He showed the film in a premier at the school. On Dec. 3, the film will be presented for its first public screening at the Mellow Mushroom in downtown Anderson.
Already, people have found the film through his website and on YouTube.
Andrew Hammett, a 28-year-old Anderson resident, is one of those who’ve already watched the film after hearing about it through a friend. After watching it, he contacted Suttles and told him he would like to help him promote the work so that more could see it in the community.
Hammett sent out press releases to the local media and helped Suttles schedule the public screening of the film.
“I was pretty impressed with the work, especially with the effort it took,” Hammett said. “I really enjoyed how it evolved. I thought it tied nicely with the theme that things aren’t looking great for people younger than 30. Maybe we need to think about that sort of stuff.”
It certainly has made Suttles think.
He interviewed people who’d given up on their dreams, the dreams they had as children, to fight in wars, to raise children or because their dreams weren’t accepted by others. Some had found happiness in new goals, but others were left with a sense of regret.
One man he interviewed wanted to be an interior designer, but was discouraged from that career because it wasn’t socially acceptable for a man to work in the field at the time.
“It was amazing to see how willing people were to tell their stories,” Suttles said. “What I learned is that most of us never outgrow what our interests were when we were young. You have to hold fast to that. I think a lot of people let go of it.”
So he intends to do just that.
He said he’s always pondered life’s big questions, something that might be a result of growing up in hospital rooms as his mother, Angie Suttles, battled cancer. He was then encouraged by his teachers at the Montessori School of Anderson to continue asking those questions.
And he is determined to ponder those questions in film as a documentary film maker. He’s already thinking about studying at the Savannah College of Art and Design in Savannah, Ga., and he’s working a new, shorter film.
In his dorm room at Clemson University, he has a mini-studio set up. He has a desktop computer, with a video camera and a tripod. And at his parents’ house in Anderson, he has one wall painted as a green screen — a bright green background that those in film and television use as a backdrop.
“Life is short,” he said. “I enjoy seeking the truth in life and what life can be.”