Kokomo native Jeremy Clevenger felt helpless as he sat in a California post-production studio, staring at photos Nov. 17 of homes and businesses in his hometown that had been destroyed by a tornado.
“I saw the pictures and wanted to be there to help, but I couldn’t be there,” he said.
Clevenger lived in Kokomo for 18 years before packing up and moving first to Florida and then to the Golden State to pursue a career in film.
He now edits films at Therapy Productions, a post-production facility in Los Angeles. He was at work when he got word a tornado had ripped through his hometown.
His heart broke as he looked at photos and videos of the devastation.
In the days that followed, though, he heard people were banding together to help each other, just as he knew they would, he said.
That inspired Clevenger to help out in his own way, with a film to raise funds for relief.
He’s chronicling the city’s post-tornado journey in a 44-minute feature documentary called “Path of Destruction.”
The story will follow three people — someone whose life was dramatically changed by the tornado, someone who experienced both that tornado and the 1965 Palm Sunday tornado, and a young person in the community who has stepped up to help following the most recent storm.
“Through these people, there will be more emotional pull,” Clevenger said.
Clevenger is working with only a $10,000 budget, so that means he can’t make the trip to Kokomo to film the documentary himself. He has asked a team of people in the community to hit the streets and get footage of cleanup efforts. He wants them talking to people to find the amazing stories he knows are there, he said.
“There is a tremendous amount of story within this city,” he wrote in his movie pitch. “Our goal is to compile all of these amazing experiences into one film to help showcase the resilience and uniqueness of Kokomo, Indiana. Our city has something important to share and we want to bring this to life. Kokomo is a great city because the residents are always available to lend a helping hand.”