Guest post by Claire Brosman
Grant writer & storyteller for non-profits. Better composter than gardener. Obsessed with good food and where it comes from.
Some men devote their lives to creating peace and prosperity in the world, some devote themselves to discovering medical miracles, and some devote their lives to dressing up like Santa Clause. It sounds like a punch line, and before watching THEY WORE THE RED SUIT it was. But this documentary by Indiana filmmaker Larry Peter examines the world of Santa impersonators in a light I’ve not seen before.
Peters doesn’t set out to make these impersonators misfit men who seek solace in hiding behind big beards and even bigger bellies as they live in the fantasy of Christmas with their elves and reindeer. Instead Peters steeps these men’s actions in tradition and history; from their suits and accessories to the “Ho, Ho, Ho” of the original Santa impersonator, Jim Yellig, he gives a lineage to these men. He roots his narrative in Santa Clause, Indiana and Santa Claus Land where Yellig worked for 38 years.
Through the director’s narration and a series of interviews with these Santas we learn about the traditions and each man’s revelation about the true importance of his life’s work. While they might learn every child’s material wants, they also are the keepers of children’s less tangible wishes. They may not be able to make wishes come true, but giving each wish a place to land might be all a child needs. And the men in the red suits take that role very seriously.
The 2013 Indianapolis International Film Festival will take place July 18 to 28. Secure your tickets now for THEY WORE THE RED SUIT.