Jeff Krulik is an accomplished local filmmaker, best known for his 1986 cult classic “Heavy Metal Parking Lot,” a short documentary co-produced by John Heyn about fans tailgating in the Capital Centre parking lot before a Judas Priest concert.
Jeff Krulik is also a hoarder, whose collection includes seven hours of taped interviews with fans and raw footage from Capitals games dating from Alex Ovechkin’s rookie season, which had gathered dust on a shelf since his spec project for the team’s marketing department was abandoned in 2007.
Greg DeLiso is a 29-year-old filmmaker from Michigan, who, in 2010, edited Krulik’s “Heavy Metal Picnic,” a feature-length documentary about a two-day, outdoor concert in Potomac in 1985.
Greg DeLiso is also a die-hard hockey fan, who, with Krulik’s blessing and decade-old footage, created “Washington Capitals Time Capsule” as a labor of love. The documentary short, which was released on Tuesday, is a fascinating and quirky snapshot of the period between Ovechkin’s arrival in 2005 and the 2007-08 season. That span included an arena name change and a new look for the Caps, marking the start of the “Rock the Red” era.
The video features interviews with Capitals PA announcer Wes Johnson, who is a friend of Krulik, and Sam Wolk, better known as “The Horn Guy.” There are on-ice cameos by Capitals legends, including Olie Kolzig, and forgotten players, such as Colin Forbes. Fans are the focus of the eight-minute film. Some recall the 1987 Easter Epic and the standing ovation the Capitals received after tying the Montreal Canadiens in their first exhibition game at the new Capital Centre in 1974. Others struggle to spell C-A-P-S with their painted chests.
“I didn’t know anything about the Capitals or their history when I started the project,” said DeLiso, a Red Wings fan who timed the release of the video around Ovechkin’s 500th career goal. The Capitals captain is four goals shy of the mark entering Tuesday’s game at Boston. “I had to look up a lot of the stuff that people were talking about. I was surprised to see how many fans had been going to games since the very beginning.”
Krulik is a casual Capitals fan, but his parents are loyal followers. They owned a Parcel Plus franchise near the Capitals’ old practice facility in Piney Orchard for 16 years and would often ship players’ equipment. Former Caps still send his parents holiday cards. Krulik met former Capitals director of digital media Sean Parker through a mutual friend. Parker was familiar with Krulik’s work and expressed interest in him creating videos of fans to post online.
“I was hoping that it might turn into something, but what that something was, I didn’t know,” said Krulik, who was granted access to four or five games.
The project with the Capitals stalled, but it wasn’t all for naught, thanks to DeLiso. Krulik learned of DeLiso’s love of hockey while they were collaborating on “Heavy Metal Picnic” and told him about his Capitals footage. It wasn’t until about six months ago that DeLiso finally got around to reviewing it all, spending roughly 15 hours to pick out clips he might use. Editing took another couple of weeks. The final product includes footage from different years, but was pieced together to appear as if it were shot during a single game.
“It’s just a nice thing he did for the sport, I think, and the Capitals and their fans, of course,” said Krulik, whose most recent feature-length documentary explores the mystery of whether Led Zeppelin played a concert at the Wheaton Youth Center in 1969. “The fact that he’s a big fan and recognizes this is a moment when the Capitals are surging and Ovechkin is approaching a major milestone, I appreciate it. It’s nice to see my work re-purposed like that because it’s just been on the shelf. Greg’s the maestro of this film. He really reminds me a lot of myself, only he has skill.”
DeLiso, who adopted the Capitals as his second team when he began work on “Time Capsule,” creates educational and corporate documentaries to pay the bills while working on independent projects. His first feature film, “Hectic Knife” – a comedy about a knife-wielding vigilante – is due out later this year.