Business

Video firm preserving memories

Thursday, February 23, 2012

By MICHAEL CLEVELAND

Staff Writer

MILFORD – The idea for preserving the memories of American veterans had its genesis in a meeting with a 100-year-old man named Bob Flannery.

Flannery was an “inspiration,” said Dan Marcek, founder and president of Vetflix, a Brookline firm that produces DVDs of veterans telling their stories for posterity. The firm, on Myopia Hill Road, also has a division called Pensieve Arts that produces DVDs for and about anyone, even DVDs of their pets.

The idea, Marcek told the Milford Rotary Club at its weekly Wednesday luncheon last week, is to preserve memories, not just of war but of life.

Marcek showed the Rotarians several clips of veterans, including Flannery, and of plain folks just talking about their lives, in one case a man and woman discussing how they met and the man telling funny stories about his relationship, as a child, with his sister.

But it is Vetflix that Marcek spoke of most, calling DVDs featuring veterans “heirlooms (that) tell the stories of what our veterans have done for us,” and in their owns words. The idea, he said, is to ensure that people “appreciate their contributions.”

“They tell amazing stories,” he said, “and I think that as a nation we’re richer for (the stories) being captured, because when they die, they’re going to die with them.”

Marcek mentioned, and his brochure referenced, the U.S. Library of Congress’ Veterans History Project. The brochure says Vetflix “enables you to join this permanent national record by working with you to create your personal entry.”

Although Vetflix is a nonprofit, it does charge $3,000 for creating a DVD but said the firm, and the veterans, count on the community and donations to defray the cost, “because some veterans can’t afford” the cost.

“It does cost a fair amount of money to do this,” he said. “I really think the veterans thing has to be a community effort, because a lot of veterans don’t have the money.”

But, he added, “Somehow the money will figure itself out, because it’s the right thing to do.”

His company wants to get the filming right, to “have a product that makes veterans look good,” he said

The quality of amateur DVDs varies tremendously, he said.

Rotarians reacted positively to Marcek’s talk and to the excerpts he showed after lunch. One even suggested that his firm work with attorneys and estate planners.

“You plan so much about your finances, but what about your life?” he asked. “What about who you are?” He said a DVD would leave behind “a will of your values.”

George Infanti, a Rotarian and Amherst selectman, told Marcek, “I think about all that we’ve lost,” in terms of people who have passed on without leaving their stories behind, and suggested that someone create a DVD of Milford’s Rosario “Sarooch” Ricciardi, one of the town’s more colorful characters who is getting on in years – although, someone said, he was shopping in a local supermarket recently.

“Their stories will never be known if we don’t do this,” Infanti said. “I just think of my grandfather and his stories. Half of them might not be true, but …”

That remark drew a lot of laughter, but the reception for Marcek’s talk and the idea of DVDs was clearly a serious issue to the Rotarians.

Marcek’s websites can be found at www.vetflix.org and www.pensievearts.com.

Michael Cleveland can be contacted at 673-3100, ext. 301, or at mcleveland@cabinet.com.

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