Plot & Details
A man decides to re-invent himself (at least for a few weeks) as a right jolly old elf in this documentary from director Jeff Myers. Jack Sanderson is a stocky, middle-aged man who has worked in the film business for years as an actor, producer and personal assistant. However, one year he gets the idea to add something new to his resume -- playing Santa Claus. Sanderson decides to find out what it's like to impersonate Santa for a living, not to mention giving himself a dose of Christmas spirit after losing several close family members. Sanderson grows out his beard, dyes it white, gets a custom-made Santa suit, and goes to Denver for a crash course at the American Events Santa School, where Susen Mesco has been turning ordinary guys into Kris Kringle for years. Diploma in hand, Sanderson lands a few gigs as Santa, ranging from ringing a bell for the Volunteers of America on a New York City street corner to dealing with a train full of fussy kids aboard a "Polar Express" in New Jersey. Along the way, Sanderson learns a lot about the history of Santa Claus and how he took on the image we know today, as well as meeting a number of other Santas and discovering the ups and downs of one of the world's most remarkable seasonal occupations. Becoming Santa received its world premiere at the 2011 South by Southwest Film Festival.