Baseball. The National Pastime. Cooperstown and the legends within still provide romance and mystique for baseball fans everywhere. Babe Ruth said, “Every strike brings me closer to the next home run.” Andrew Lilley is a NJ filmmaker with the mission of bringing timeless stories to film so they endure. Well, Andrew hit a metaphoric home run himself with his debut film I’ll Knock A Homer For You: The Timeless Story of Johnny Sylvester and Babe Ruth -- he won the recent Garden State Film Festival’s Home Grown Documentary Feature award. Andrew, a 2008 graduate of NY Film Academy, found inspiration for this timeless story right within his family. Johnny Sylvester was his father’s uncle, and Andrew first heard the story directly from his own father. It’s a classic tale of a sick boy, Johnny Sylvester, and The Babe promising him to hit a homer for him during the 1926 World Series. There is the Hollywood version of this legendary story, and there is the unembellished version which is still amazing. And this is what Andrew Lilley, Founder and CEO of Loose Gravel Films, has portrayed so well in his documentary. The tale of Johnny Sylvester also has a Jersey Shore connection. While at a rented house in Bay Head, NJ during the summer of 1926, Sylvester was horseback riding when he was thrown to the ground along with his horse. The horse tried to stand and kicked Sylvester’s head. The injury progressed and by Sept he was diagnosed with osteomyelitis in his skull. And exactly how did The Babe get involved in all this? We’ll have Andrew explain this part of the story, as well as why he decided to make this particular film and what was the experience like for him. This interview is Part 1 in a series on NJ filmmakers. After the interview, please check out After Hours at Jersey Coastal Live for additional information.
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