Thursday, May 4, 2005

Film company makes documentary of local attraction

A New York City-based film company TCB Productions is making a visit to Holly Springs from May 5-14. The reason for their stop in town is a documentary film about the life of Paul MacLeod and his Elvis-themed attraction Graceland Too located at 200 E. Gholson. This will be the sixth and most likely their final visit.

“We have been shooting footage of Paul since November of 2003,” says Jeffrey Jensen the film’s director “but the project includes footage of Paul all the way back to his early days back in Detroit as well as archival footage of Paul and his family throughout the years.” In all, nearly 100 hours of footage has been collected for the project. “We’re trying to tell Paul’s life story as well as the story of Graceland Too.”

The MacLeods and Graceland Too have been the subject of many television news stories and short documentaries as far back as the late 1970s. Camera crews from as far away as Australia have come to interview the self-described ‘world’s number one Elvis fans’ but Jensen claims, “This will be the definitive film about Graceland Too.”

The filmmakers have interviewed dozens of people about Paul and his out-of-the-ordinary enterprise including a recent visit with Paul’s mother Helen who now resides in Detroit after leaving Holly Springs in 1995. “A lot of people in Holly Springs were under the impression that Helen had passed away because they haven’t seen her around in awhile but she’s still going strong at the age of 93,” said Jensen. “We showed her some footage of the pink house and she remarked, ‘I wonder what the neighbors think’?” Jensen is referring to the shocking pink paint job that Paul commissioned this past July in honor of the 50th anniversary of Elvis Presley’s recording career. “I told her the reaction is mixed,” Jensen explained. He ought to know considering he’s conducted several sit-down interviews with many of MacLeod’s neighbors about that very subject. “We heard everything from ‘it’s a mockery’ to ‘It looks better than ever’.”

Jensen claims he’s interested in talking to more Holly Springs residents about Graceland Too. “I’m surprised at how few people in Holly Springs have actually taken the tour,” says Jensen “but everybody seems to have a story about the place. We even interviewed the Mayor, Andre DeBerry and even he hadn’t been there.”

Local ambivalence is surprising since Graceland Too has attracted a steady stream of tourists from around the globe largely through word of mouth publicity. MacLeod claims that over 250,000 visitors have walked through his doors. “I guess sometimes we don’t take advantage of what’s in our own backyard,” says Dirk Lee, the film’s producer. “I mean, I’ve lived in New York City my entire life and I’ve never been to the Museum of Natural History. I guess Graceland Too is the same kind of thing for Holly Springs.”

“We’ve tried to track down as many people as possible who have known the MacLeods or had any interesting experiences with Graceland Too. The film hasn’t been edited yet but we’d like to include as many different voices from the Holly Springs community as possible.”
If you are interested in adding your perspective to this project feel free to contact TCB Productions at 646.637.6774 or via email
contact@gracelandtoothemovie.com. Be sure to get in touch with them soon.


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