Jerry Kramer's life transcends winning football championships --
-- although he sure did a lot of that. His life - both personally and professionally - has embodied character, integrity, and excellence. Jerry has always made the effort to do things "the right way." This film is not only about his life, it's about the values that define how he has lived it - selflessness, teamwork, rising above adversity, and perseverance.
"This Kickstarter campaign has been launched so that the film can be independent and truthful, and so that it can be completed this year. I think you'll really like the Rewards. Thanks for visiting!" - Glenn Aveni (filmmaker)
As a player for the Green Bay Packers, he won 5 championships, 2 Super Bowls (the first two Super Bowls ever), was an All-Pro selection 6 times, and made the biggest block on the biggest play of arguably the biggest (and still the coldest) game in NFL history, known forever as The Ice Bowl. He is on virtually every known list of "Greatest Players in History. "
Jerry's ability to rise above adversity is best exemplified by him playing in 129 regular season games (over 11 years), despite an astounding 22 surgeries. And his admirable perseverance is best exemplified by an inexplicable 50 year wait to be enshrined into the NFL Hall Of Fame, an honor finally bestowed upon him in 2018 at the age of 82.
The film takes viewers on a heartfelt and emotional journey - from Jerry growing up in a very small town, with very modest means, to his appreciable NFL glory and achievements, to an admirably productive and significant life after football. Jerry Kramer has been a successful player, teammate, author, motivator, and ambassador of humanity. He's been an inspiration to a great many, role model to some, trusted friend to a few, and perhaps above all, he has been, and forever will be a proud and loving family man.
"I feel humbled and privileged to make this film," says filmmaker Glenn Aveni. "I want to add that we live at a time when traditional values, trust, and character seem less visible and prevalent. This film will entertain and enlighten, but I hope many also find it inspirational."
"Jerry Kramer did not know how good he was when he first joined the Green Bay Packers. You'd be surprised how much confidence a little success will bring." - Vince Lombardi
HALL OF FAME PLAYER, PERSON, FATHER, AND FRIEND
Jerry was born in eastern Montana and moved - during 4th grade - to Sandpoint, Idaho.
In 1953, an accident shot a lance of wood into his abdomen, sticking out his back between two vertebrate. Doctors cut the piece in two and pulled it out, front and back. Two weeks later, he was back at High School football practice. He accepted a football scholarship to the University of Idaho, where he played nearly every play until his final game. He was drafted by the Packers in 1958 (Vince Lombardi became coach the next year.) In 1965, while playing for the Packers and having achieved much success, Jerry missed most of a season when he was diagnosed with actinomycosis from remaining wood fragments still in his abdomen all those years. After serious surgery, he reclaimed his starting position at right guard. The Packers went on to win three additional (and consecutive) NFL titles.
In 1967, Jerry collaborated with Dick Schaap on Instant Replay. The book chronicled the life of a professional football offensive lineman during a season. It was groundbreaking and highly successful. Jerry authored two additional books with Schaap. When Vince Lombardi tragically died from cancer in 1970, Jerry edited a collection of reminiscences from coaches, players, and friends as well as the family of the late great coach.
Jerry was always a major proponent of The Lombardi Principles, and still lives his life by its precepts and doctrine. He has been universally respected by players, management, competitors, and sports celebrities all over the world. He's become a sought-after motivational speaker (and if you played our Project Video, you've heard his distinctive, defining, almost mesmerizing voice).
Jerry was a Hall Of Fame finalist on 10 separate occasions. He was widely considered the greatest player not in the HOF for decades. Finally in 2018, at the age of 82, and with enormous help from his children, including son Daniel, and led by daughter Alicia, Jerry was inducted into Canton. He still loves wearing the jacket.
"Jerry - you are a new inductee into the NFL Hall Of Fame!" - HOF President David Baker
"And you are the most beautiful man I've ever seen!" - Jerry Kramer with a smile, in response
MORE ABOUT THE FILM
The film opens with Jerry getting the news that he finally was going to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. His reaction is priceless. It then flashes back and traces Jerry's life in a biographical manner, beginning with his childhood in Sandpoint, Idaho.
Throughout the film, Jerry speaks. Other present-day interviews that have already taken place or been committed, are with Donnie Anderson, Bobby Beathard, Boyd Dowler, Brett Favre, Franco Harris, Paul Hornung, Dave Robinson, and Ron Wolf. Upon success of this Kickstarter, additional interviews will be added, including Bart Starr Jr. The film will be rich in archival interviews as well, and will contain much classic, dramatic and historic game footage licensed from the NFL. And of course, Jerry's 6 children - Tony, Diana, Daniel, Alicia, Matthew, and Jordan will each speak personally on camera.
The film shows footage, and makes commentary on the way football was once played mostly in "the trenches". If you are a football fan, you've no doubt heard the expression "the game is won in the trenches." Jerry Kramer played in the trenches, as an offensive guard. The role of the offensive line is to sacrifice the body to protect, and to block for others. A lineman never carries the ball. The job is selfless, exemplifies the team nature of football, and this fits the persona of Jerry to a tee. The film also discusses Jerry's role in the Packers' signature play - the Packers' Sweep. This play became iconic, and it was used so often that it was almost as if the Packers (and Coach Lombardi) were saying - "you know it's coming, here it is, see if you can stop it."
The film also brings you head-on into the era of 1960's football through team rivalries and personal ones. After all, there were less teams back then, no free agency, and far less frequent substitutions. Rivalries became almost religious in nature. Jerry often lined up directly against such luminary defensive linemen as Alex Karras and Merlin Olsen.
The film discusses The Ice Bowl, Jerry's retirement, the death of Coach Lombardi, and it tells of The Lombardi Principles, which embody how Jerry lived his life. Throughout the film, we hear commentary and testimonials not only through current interviews, but archival clips.
Then there is the uniqueness of playing in Green Bay, in front of the fervent Packer Nation.
PACKER NATION & PACKER PRIDE
The film will explore links between Jerry Kramer and the Green Bay Packers which transcend the fact that Jerry played his entire career for them. The Green Bay Packer franchise is marked by great success, but also by principles, ideals, a unique way of doing business, an unparalleled degree of fan loyalty, and support of the community and by the community.
The city of Green Bay is - by far - the smallest U.S. market to host a professional sports team in any major sport. The Packers are the third-oldest franchise in the NFL, and have played in their original city longer than any franchise. The Packers are a non-profit, community-owned professional sports team, the only one in the U.S. The bond between the Packers and the Green Bay (and surrounding) community is virtually unequaled. Every game played in Green Bay has been sold out since 1960. There is a 30+ year wait for season tickets.
The Packers have enjoyed success, having won 13 league championships, the most in history. During Jerry Kramer's 11 years with the Packers (1958-1968), they won 5 league championships, and won the first two Super Bowls.
The 1960's were "glory years" for the Green Bay Packers, and the team played under the stern and moralistic tutelage of all-time great coach Vince Lombardi. Terms like Packer Nation and Packer Pride were based on real life messages. It's been argued that no team has ever adopted a more personal role in its community than the Packers, and in 2008, ESPN.com ranked Packers fans as best in the NFL (tied with fans of the Steelers).
Says Glenn: "My earliest memories growing up in Wisconsin, were watching Packers games on cold Sundays with my dad and my uncles. I would fetch them beers, they would yell at the TV, I only partly understood why. It was the first time I saw grown men fraternize, and the first time I heard off-color language. I only knew it was fun, and I got caught up in the passion and excitement, because - who wouldn't? As I got a little older and better understood football, rooting for the Packers became part of my soul.
"When I was 10, already a die-hard Packers fan, my dad handed me a book one day. He said: 'You need to read this.' He had never handed me a book before. It was the best seller Instant Replay, by Jerry Kramer and Dick Schaap, about the 1967 season. Jerry's words were inspirational. They stayed with me.
"I've been fortunate to have a career as an independent filmmaker, because with independence comes the freedom to choose the stories to tell. I produced a documentary on guitarist Les Paul that won awards and acclaim. A few years ago, I produced a documentary on The US Festival and its founder Steve Wozniak, and brought it successfully to Kickstarter. I love music and play guitar. I love sports and love to tailgate. I especially love telling stories about people and events that are uplifting and larger than life.
"'You Can If You Will' is a quote that originated with Jerry's high school coach. It seemed a fitting title for a film about a small-town boy who braved serious injury and hurdled obstacles to become a 5-time world champion pro football player, best-selling author, articulate and forceful speaker, proud family man, good friend, neighbor, and role model, and - after a 50 year wait (which is a story in and of itself, discussed in the film) - an NFL Hall of Famer. He has lived and embodied the 'Lombardi Principles' : Love your family. Love your teammates. Show respect to receive respect. Live with integrity. Character matters. Do things right not just some of the time, but all of the time.
"I appreciate that you've read this commentary - thank you. Whether you are a die-hard longtime Packers fan, or someone who knows nothing of Jerry Kramer or professional football, you will enjoy this film. It is a story that is not only true, it's real. You'll feel that. As I've said, and will now say again, it's an honor and a privilege for me to tell the Jerry Kramer story. Thank you for your interest, and thanks for your support." - Glenn
DID YOU KNOW? Jerry was also the Packers' placekicker for several years, and he scored ten points, on three field goals and an extra point, in the Packers 16−7 victory over the Giants in the 1962 NFL Championship game. In 1963 he was jovially described as "the best knuckleball kicker in the NFL."
ABOUT THE REWARDS
Every reward beginning at $15 includes the film in some way. Every reward beginning at $105 includes your name in the closing credits under "the Producers wish to thank …".
The posters are movie-style, signed individually by Jerry and will be shipped in a tube for protection.
The $185 personally inscribed book reward will be of Instant Replay, signed by Jerry, personalized to you (your name or a name of your choosing).
The Insider Special reward which includes several unique items contains Jerry Kramer's "Inside The Locker Room" 2-disc CD set which covers Green Bay's 1967 championship season; the audio tapes - used to create Instant Replay - include Coach Vince Lombardi's last Green Bay locker room speech, Super Bowl II locker room audio and interviews with Bart Starr, Paul Hornung, Max McGee and Captains Willie Davis and Bob Skoronski.
CAN YOU MIX AND MATCH? Yes, you can. If there are Rewards you'd like in a certain combination/quantity that are not offered that way, no problem. Send a message by clicking the round photo of Glenn (top left of page), and then "CONTACT ME". We'll work it out. DELIVERY DATES: The Rewards deliveries are approximate, and reflect a delivery date of a best-guess for the film's completion; because the success of this campaign would raise enough to finish the film, we intend to get it to you before the holidays this year. However, we are also likely to fulfill many of the Rewards a bit earlier. MAKING YOUR "CHOICES": All "options" involved in any Reward tier (t-shirt size, etc.) are made AFTER the campaign; Kickstarter has a survey form for this.
MEET THE TEAM
Glenn Aveni - Filmmaker, Director, and Producer
Glenn is a boutique indie filmmaker who is passionate about sports and music. His films are focused on people and things that have made a difference. His documentary on Les Paul was nominated for an Emmy and was a multiple award-winner at major festivals. The US Generation (funded on Kickstarter) was about The US Festival and its founder Steve Wozniak. Glenn is a resident of Wisconsin and a lifelong Packers fan. He has immensely enjoyed getting to know Jerry Kramer and his family, and he looks forward to completing and releasing this film.
Daniel Kramer - Producer
Daniel Kramer is an author, photographer, educator and circumnavigator, currently residing in Houston. He is Jerry's third child. He holds a B.A. in Journalism from the University of Minnesota and an MFA in Documentary Photojournalism from the Academy of Art University in San Francisco. His photographs have been published in TIME, Newsweek, The Atlantic, CNN, the BBC Newshour, etc. and are in collections at museums worldwide including the Museum of Fine Arts (Houston), the Phoenix Art Museum, and The Ramones Museum in Berlin.
Mark Mayfield - Executive Producer
Mark works extensively with Jerry Kramer as Jerry's exclusive sports marketing agent. The two men have a uniquely close relationship. Mark is President of Mayfield Sports Marketing, through which he has many relationships with former and current NFL and especially Green Bay Packers players, some of whom have agreed to be interviewed for this film.
Bob Monagle - Executive Producer
Bob is co-founder of Tanner Monagle Studios and an award winning broadcast producer/editor. Bob brings a unique perspective to this film production and he is a longtime Green Bay Packers and Jerry Kramer fan. One of Bob’s inspirational childhood memories is reading the Jerry Kramer/Dick Schaap best selling book titled Instant Replay.
John Tanner - Executive Producer
John is co-founder of Tanner Monagle Studios and has worked on numerous award winning films, television programs and recorded music projects. John will oversee the film’s score and licensed music for the film. John has worked with former Green Bay Packers legend Donald Driver and numerous other sports celebrities over his illustrious career.
Ross Monagle - Director of Photography, Lead Editor
Ross has a passion for producing meaningful films about people who have an extraordinary story to tell, and Jerry Kramer’s story is no exception. Ross’ passion for sports and the Green Bay Packers and his superior knowledge how to light and shoot a scene, will give this film a unique character to match Jerry’s unique qualities.
BUDGET, TIMELINE, & USE OF PROCEEDS
Production is well underway, and funds from Kickstarter will allow for completion. This includes the additional interviews and content, as well as the the editing necessary to create a rough cut. Post-production includes color correction, sound editing, music, and some basic effects - all the things that make a film special. Licenses and Clearances include rights fees for NFL and other footage and some music. In the event that the Kickstarter campaign exceeds its target raise, incremental funds will be used for soundtrack, additional effects, plus submission to film festivals and broad distribution efforts. The ongoing Production will re-commence immediately after the campaign, and continue through the summer. Post-production efforts will occur in the Fall. The film will be completed and released to backers before Christmas of 2019.
We came to Kickstarter because we wanted this film to be INDEPENDENT, and to speak to a COMMUNITY. With independence comes truth, and the ability to finish the film sooner, so that Jerry himself can also enjoy it sooner. The community we seek is not just football fans, or Packers fans (who may know Jerry and his story), but a wider community that would appreciate a documentary that embodies motivation, integrity, adversity, perseverance, patience, and humanity. What better place for us than Kickstarter, where documentary films are featured, and communities are fostered every day.
If you've got questions, we've got answers. Send a message through Kickstarter by clicking on the little round photo of Glenn at the top left of the campaign page, then click CONTACT ME. We'd love to hear from you!
"I am excited about the film, I’m excited about the opportunity to talk about the philosophy and beliefs of coach. I think it’s a philosophy that is applicable to virtually any walk of life. As coach said: 'You don’t do things right once in a while, you do them right all the time.'" - Jerry Kramer
PHOTO CREDITS: In places where the photographer was known to us, the credit appears in the photo caption. If anybody sees a photo not credited and can provide information as to who should be credited, we would be pleased to add said credit(s).
Risks and challenges
Making a motion picture is a comprehensive endeavor full of many moving parts, difficult even for a major studio. Independent film in particular has to juggle economic reality as a variable. In our case, we have been working on the film for a while, and so we are pretty far along. The B-roll - classic football footage, crowds, etc. - is all located, and ready to be licensed. Some of the interviews are done. Some of the rights are cleared, and the rest is at least known. This is not my first rodeo, so to speak. I feel very privileged to be working not only with Jerry, but his family and representatives who are very much wanting to see the broad legacy of this fine man told on the big screen. For all these reasons, I can say with total certainty that when this Kickstarter campaign reaches its target, this film will be finished, on time, and all the Rewards will likewise be delivered on time. - GlennLearn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (44 days)