Our friend and Richmond filmmaker Lucas Krost submitted a short film about his father Lee,
a 74-year-old quarterback who plays in a flag football league with teammates a quarter of his age, to an NFL video contest and won. Now the NFL is giving the Krosts an all-access trip to the Super Bowl. Before heading out to the big game, Lucas stopped by Ledbury to get ready for his trip and to tell us more about his father, films and the once in a lifetime opportunity.
How’d you first get into film production?
I got into film production the last semester that I was at VCU (Virginia Commonwealth University). I took a film editing class and absolutely fell in love with it. It was the first time in my life that I locked myself away for two weeks and came out excited about what I had worked on. I think VCU is a great place, and they allow people the ability to find the thing that they love and pursue it.
What sort of productions do you predominantly work on and most enjoy?
We do a lot of commercial work for several of the ad agencies around Richmond. As I get deeper and deeper into the love of this art form, I try to find more personal stories to tell. Something that I discovered about filmmaking through this process and journey is that if you do the things you believe in and love, that’s where people connect.
Once I posted the film that I did about my dad, so many people got into touch with me and told me that they really connected with it. One cool story is that a bar owner in Missouri who runs a biker bar called me and said, “Hey, I just wanted to let you know that I run a very tough bar. I showed your film to our clientele and, at the end of it, there wasn’t a dry eye in the entire house.”
I think what has been most rewarding about this is that it was a story about my dad that connected with people on an emotional level. That’s what we’re all after, finding those places where we connect with each other.
Your dad seems like a very interesting person, could you tell us a little more about him and his love of football?
My dad is from Richmond and played semi-pro football for the Richmond Rebels. While he was still playing semi-pro, he received a call from the Baltimore Colts and they did a tryout here in Richmond together. They said, “Well you’re good, but we already have a quarterback – Johnny Unitas.” So my dad hung up his cleats , but he kept playing in industrial leagues and has continued to play ever since.
My dad is a larger than life character. He’s 74-years-old, plays football with people a quarter of his age, and is the best quarterback in the league. Seeing a 23-year old guy getting beat by my dad is pretty awesome.
Were you already filming your dad’s games before all of this, and what was the process like once you decided to enter the contest?
I’ve been filming my dad on and off for the past 8 or 9 years. Every time he’s made it to a championship game, I’ve been up to Connecticut to film. I had boxes full of footage but had no idea what it was going to be.
A few months ago, my brother called and asked if I had seen the Together We Make Football contest. I then checked it out and thought it was perfect. My editor and I got together and we cut the piece together in about two weeks then submitted it. About a week later we got a notification that we were finalists and then it went on to the phase where America voted for it. It ended up getting the most overall votes. I think that it was 100% because of Richmond getting behind it. No other city on the planet could a little film like this get the support that it did. I feel super thankful.
What was your initial reaction to finding out that you were one of the five winners of the contest?
How they told us was incredible. They very sneakily flew us down to Florida and told us that we needed to shoot some additional footage for the documentary. We were throwing the football and out walked Joe Namath and he presented us with the tickets. I always thought of my dad as a legend and it was incredible to see my dad next to Joe Namath and fitting in perfectly beside him. That moment validated all of the perceptions that I had about my dad as I was growing up.
In addition winning tickets to the Super Bowl, what other perks were included in the prize package?
The NFL described this as winning the golden ticket. We have a week long itinerary – hanging out with the Commissioner of the NFL, attending NFL press conferences, going to the halftime show and all sorts of things. We get to have a very insiders look at the NFL, which is going to be incredible. My dad and my brothers all know the NFL, but for me, it’s going to be a completely new experience. This will be my first professional football game I’ve been to. It’s a great place to start and I’m excited to just have fun.
How has this process of documenting your dad, going down to Florida and next, the Super Bowl, brought you two closer?
There’s an amazing connection between a father and a son, and the thing about this film is that it’s given us a real opportunity to become closer together. The fact that we won this thing and I get to take my dad to the Super Bowl. This whole process has been wonderful for our relationship.
My dad called me the other day and said, “Luke, you could’ve given me no better gift.” There’s something magical about the fact that his dream was always to be part of the NFL and that a little film that I put together helped him reconnect with that dream. I’m humbled by how much this has made me feel.
What 40-year-old man still has the ability to go out in the backyard and throw the football with his dad? I still get to throw the football with him and I get to see my dad throwing the football with my kids. I think it’s a gift that not many people get to experience.
This whole experience is something that you two are definitely going to remember for the rest of your lives.
If anything, this contest has brought so many members of our family that have spread out across the country together. We’re going to be having a family reunion in a few months for the first time in years, mostly because of all of this.
On a final note, which team will you be rooting for on game day?
I’m officially a Seattle Seahawks fan because Russell Wilson is from Richmond. I’ll have my Seahawks colors on and I’ll be ready to go.
We wish Lucas and his dad a great time at tonight's game. Watch his contest-winning film here, and to see more of Lucas' work, visit his website.