Based on a Story
The widely-publicized encounter is explored between a Jewish Cantor, Michael Weisser and Nebraska's former Ku Klux Klan Grand Dragon, Larry Trapp, in BASED ON A STORY. After months of harassment from Trapp by mail, phone and cable TV, the Weisser family befriended Trapp, who then renounced the Klan, moved into the Weisser family's home and converted to Judaism. Trapp, who was a double amputee and blind from childhood diabetes, died in the Weisser's home six months after he moved in. The Weisser/Trapp story, which was sold by the Weissers to the Disney Corporation, is presented as an intimate tale of family and childhood that evolves into a media event, built around fear and the shifting terrain of public and private life. The film examines contradictory narratives of family, friends, congregation members and the media to explore the wide range of responses this story evoked. This film interweaves interview footage with evocative visual imagery and a voice-over narrative. Imagery of the Nebraska plains is layered with artifacts from Trapp's life, media footage from Trapp's Klan activities through to his funeral and intimate moments of the Weisser's family home. The unique visual construction of the film concludes with the narrator appearing on camera, suggesting that the film's narrative shares the "constructive" nature of the interview footage.