Brett Culp believes in the power of video and film to inspire and empower.
“As I started to fall in love with filmmaking and improved as a storyteller, I realized my gift was to find light in dark spaces—to see the power and the goodness in people and in their life stories even when they could not see it for themselves,” he says.
Culp will address the America's Credit Union Conference in Las Vegas today.
Culp is the personal cinematographer for Hollywood stars, music icons, and famous athletes. His 2013 documentary, “Legends of the Knight,” which tells true stories of people who become real-life heroes through their love of the comic book character Batman, is a prime example of that gift.
One of those heroes is Lenny Robinson, who became internet famous for getting pulled over by the police while driving down an interstate in Baltimore in a replica of the Batmobile while wearing a full Batman costume.
“There is this video from the dash cam of the police car where you can hear the police officers talking, where you see Batman get pulled over by the police, and it is hilarious,” Culp says.
But after looking into it further, Culp says, a deeper story emerged.
“He is a retired businessman who sold his business and spent all of his time going [in costume] to children’s hospitals all over the country to cheer up these kids,” Culp says. “There was this beautiful story of someone who really wanted to make a difference in the world.”
Culp pioneered a new approach to distribution for the documentary, allowing anyone to screen Legends of the Knight if they donated all proceeds to charity.
Without spending a single dollar on marketing, advertising, or staff, the movie screened in theaters in more than 100 cities around the globe, raising nearly $100,000 for charity.
“Most of the people that requested and did these screenings had never done a charity event before. They had never hosted anything like this. It was new for them,” Culp says.
"But to watch them become leaders in their communities, to watch them become heroes, really inspired me,” he adds. “And it taught me a lot about
what leadership really is, and about the capacity all of us have to make an impact in people’s lives and to invite them into something extraordinary that we can do together.”
That experience led Culp to create the Rising Heroes Project, which produces films and other creative projects that inspire viewers to overcome personal adversity and engage with the world in a positive way.
“It does not matter who you are, where you come from, or whether the world knows your name, or will ever know your name,” Culp says. “Every single one of us has this incredible potential to make a difference, to make an impact.”
Brett Culp will deliver a keynote address at CUNA's America's Credit Union Conference, which runs June 25-28 in Las Vegas.