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Elvis Isn't Dead Sizzle

The documentary centers around Greg Suckow, an Elvis impersonator. He attends all of the University of Iowa's College Football games in character and he's become a legend to the college football community. I started filming with him a few years ago and came to know his mother too. She sews all his Elvis costumes. She is currently in the early stages of dementia and has forced Greg to start considering that her disease might cause her to not remember who he is anymore. One thing he is sure of though, she'll never forget who Elvis is.


Skyler Knutzen's work as documentary DP and editor has screened at Sundance, SXSW, DOC NYC, Dallas International Film Festival, short listed at the Oscars 2022, nominated for 2023 Emmys in the Exceptional Merit in Documentary Filmmaking, and nominations from the DGA. He's worked on Ondi Timoner's last two films, Last Flight Home, and The New Americans: Gaming A Revolution


Next Steps:

I have currently filmed Greg and his mother, Margaret, for the last two football seasons. Both of their lives are changing rapidly. Margaret's health is worsening. I would like to continue filming the transitions that both of them will go through soon. These scenes would include, doctor visits, Margaret packing up her home and selling it, moving to either Greg's or a health faculty, other day-to-day care that Greg provides, and more. Greg is trying to decide what is going to be best for her next. I believe there is an important film that can be captured that centers around how a son takes care of an aging parent. Their unique relationship and personalities add a tone to this film that most documentaries on dementia do not have. His hobby of being an Elvis impersonator and her eccentric personality gives the sizzle life and I know a feature film would only further showcase the comedic moments that can come out of tragedy. I plan to continue to film their lives and how Greg's responsibilities adjust as her health worsens. The film will then be able to tackle bigger questions on elderly care, family dynamics, memory, sports community, and how it's often bigger than the sports fans are cheering on. 

Why It Will Be Successful:

We do not have to look hard to find successful documentaries on sports, and health. ESPN has made he incredible series 30 for 30 that has spotlighted the most interesting stories in sports history. This year Apple TV release the Stephen Curry documentary: Underrated. We've also seen the release of Untold: Swamp Kings on the Florida Gators. Sports documentaries are in high demand. Elvis Isn't Dead because it profiles a super fan of a sport but we still get the audience that these other sports documentaries enjoy. Greg's cult legend has grew to such an extend that Charles Barkley has commented on him during broadcast. In terms of documentaries about health and aging parents the film, The Eternal Memory, just won the top prize at Sundance. It centers on a wife struggling with her husbands dementia. The film, Last Flight Home, which I worked on as a DP and editor focuses on the directors dad going through with assisted suicide after a life with a disability. This film went on to play at Sundance, DOCNYC, and was shortlisted for an Academy Award. People have an interest in films tackling lifes hardest questions. My film is able to combine the successful genre of sports documentaries with the soulfulness of an aging parent documentary. 

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