Return to John E. Gruber Video Awards

Evan Lofback

Evan Lofback

Chuck Chambliss

Chuck Chambliss and his wife, Natalie

Evan Lofback, Maryville, Tennessee, videographer, and Chuck Chambliss, Hueytown, Alabama, executive producer and editor received their award for a documentary about locomotive 4501, “And Then There Was One.”

Lofback moved to Tennessee from Florida in 2011 and currently works as the Assistant Director of Technology at Equis Financial in Asheville, North Carolina. After seeing the news that 4501 was being restored at the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum in 2012, he decided to create a high-quality, no-budget documentary using volunteers from the railfan community and upload it for free to YouTube.

He established a Facebook page to reach out to individuals and the community in general, telling them about his idea and asking for help. That’s how Chambliss joined the team. Shortly after, Robert Soule III became the first significant contributor to provide classic media to the project, mostly covering 4501’s early restoration and operation by his father and Paul Merriman in the mid-60s. Several organizations, including TVRM, Norfolk Southern, and the Southern Railway Historical Association, gave access to their archival documentation. “All the while, I was diligently researching for and writing the script. What started as a documentary about a machine quickly evolved into an emotional story of human persistence and triumph, and that is what we tried to convey,” Lofback said. The first showing was September 9, 2016, at TVRM.

Chambliss is a supervising video editor for Spectrum Reach in Birmingham, Alabama, managing other video editors in various states in the Southeast US. He has 20 years of video production and graphic design experience, in addition to eight years of active duty in the U.S. Air Force.

“We spent approximately two and a half years from start to finish. This involved multiple trips to Tennessee for myself to shoot interviews and extra footage. I could not begin to guess how many post-production hours were spent editing, etc., and that does not include Evan’s tireless efforts researching and collecting material from historical sources so that we could actually have material to create the documentary.

“As a professional in the Video Production field, I told Evan from day one that if I was going to be involved, we would settle for nothing less than the most professional video we could possibly produce, considering our budget (or lack thereof). I love the story we’ve told and hope our film serves for generations to come in educating folks on some of the history of this magnificent machine. In addition, I hope it helps spark interest in others to want to get involved in the further preservation of our railroad history, as well as continue to tell magnificent stories,” Chambliss said.

The full citation will appear in Railroad History.