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Reel Tributes Documentaries of a lifetime

Memories Matter

Over 5.4 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s disease, the most common form of dementia, a general term for memory loss and other intellectual abilities serious enough to interfere with daily life. Such a statistic is what motivated David Adelman to use what his company does best – capture memories on film – to make a difference.

Reel Tributes helps families capture memories on film to honor the lives of loved ones. Recently, the company partnered with the Alzheimer’s Association to raise awareness for the disease and preserving memories, offering up a film as the grand prize. We recently had a chance to interview David Adelman, founder and CEO of Reel Tributes about the contest, how video is bringing people closer together, and what his big dream for the world is.

CPC: Why do we need to get the stories of our families on film?
Adelman: Stories have the power to connect us with generations past, while at the same time preserving our own gems for future generations. If we don’t record our stories, so much rich history will be lost. Think about how much information you know about your great-grandparents. It’s probably limited, if any. Imagine how disappointed you’d be if in 2-3 generations nobody remembers you. We work so hard in our lifetimes to do well and do good; it’s a shame if that doesn’t get remembered. That’s where stories come in.

CPC: Stories can be powerful. How does your work help people to remember, share, and pass on family stories?
Adelman: We combine a variety of media into 30-minute films. We record interviews with family members, and incorporate pictures, home videos, important documents, and music into the narrative. Our goal is to create high-quality films that family members of all ages will enjoy watching, and will continue to watch for many years.

CPC: You recently raised awareness about Alzheimer’s with a recent contest. Can you tell us more about that?
Adelman: The Your Favorite Memory Contest was a wonderful success. We asked caregivers of Alzheimer’s patients to write down a story of their loved one. Then, through an online vote and a panel of judges, we picked the best stories. The grand prize winner received a free Reel Tribute film, which was extremely well received by the family. Other sponsors included Ritz Carlton, Four Seasons, and Massage Envy.

Through our partnership with the Alzheimer’s Association, we’ve met many families that have been impacted by this terrible disease. Very few record their stories, and for most families it’s too late. We’re trying to spread the message that as soon as someone in your family is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or dementia, the family should spend some time getting their story down. Film is the best format, but even writing stories on paper or recording them in audio is much better than doing nothing and regretting it for many years.

CPC: The last five years have seen a rapid growth in video creation and consumption. Is it bringing people closer together?
Adelman: Indeed, video creation and viewing has taken off in recent years. The combination of faster Internet, the ease of uploading and watching on YouTube, and the improvement in video production equipment and software has been a powerful combination. In some ways, this brings people closer together, especially if families are watching the content together. That’s why we’re big fans of video; it’s engaging, entertaining, and an experience that can be enjoyed with large groups of family and friends.

CPC: Can you share a story of how your work is positively impacting families?
Adelman: One client recently produced the film for her mother’s 90th birthday celebration. They brought 130 people together in one room watching the film. By the end, the client told us there wasn’t a dry eye in the room. Her mom was so excited about the film and the reaction it got that she asked us to “Please come back for my 100th birthday celebration!” At the end of the day, it’s the client’s satisfaction that keeps us passionate about our work. So far every film has been extremely well received.

CPC: What’s your big dream for the world?
Adelman: My team and I would love to see every family record their story. It’s much easier than people think, and the small amount of time and effort is certainly well worth it. It’s an investment that will only go up in value over time.

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