Chicago Film Festival: Father the Flame


This documentary is a love letter to pipes. To non-pipe smokers all pipes look and seem alike. The truth couldn’t be more different. Men and women in myriad cultures have smoked since earliest times, for pleasure as well as to access the spirit world. Aficionados and artisans/creators are a worldwide community, a many branched family. Mr. Terpstra introduces a number of them, but his main focus is master pipe creator Lee Von Erck who lives and works in Nauganee, Michigan. And for whom pipes are his family. Mr. Terpstra’s love letter follows him around the world as he discusses his craft, chooses wood —briar comes from the white heath tree, crafts pipes and helps his customers choose the right pipe and tobacco that will be the most satisfying for their individual tastes. His works of art are pricey, but they are passed down from generation to generation.