By Kyler R. Zhou
Tim Stollery, a three-time Emmy Award-winning producer, recently shot “Crossing to Victory: Washington Recaptures New Jersey” for the Washington Crossing Park Association (WCPA). The 13-minute video examines the under-reported events that were vital to Gen. George Washington and the Continental Army’s successful crossing of the Delaware River and their subsequent victory at the Battle of Trenton.
A self-proclaimed history buff, Stollery has always been interested in the Ten Crucial Days during which the Continental Army’s wins at the Battles of Trenton and Princeton turned the tide of the Revolutionary War.
“When I found out about the project, I realized that I could combine two of my passions, video storytelling and New Jersey history, and get paid for doing it. That seemed pretty cool,” the Hillsborough resident said.
The video focuses on aspects of Washington’s crossing that have been overlooked, such as the flat-bottomed, cable-guided boats that Washington used to cross the Delaware River, Washington’s grueling nine-mile march from Titusville to Trenton, and the coordinated ferry operations that moved the Continental Army and its artillery units across the river.
Stollery began his career in videography in 1981, his junior year at Rutgers University, when he got an internship at Cross-Country Cable TV in Somerville to do TV camerawork and video editing for local news.
“I became pretty fascinated with the process of telling short stories with clips of video, audio and interviews,” Stollery said. “They paid me minimum wage, but the pay is not the point. It’s about getting your hands on the equipment.”
After his internship ended, Stollery stayed at Cross-Country Cable TV for two more years as he was one of two interns awarded a scholarship.
“One of the most memorable highlights of my 40-year career was when we in New Jersey were lucky enough to have our very own NBA team,” Stollery said. “The New Jersey Nets were playing home games at the Rutgers Athletic Center in Piscataway in 1981, and I got to interview some of the biggest names in the NBA: Kareem Abdul Jabbar, Larry Bird, ‘Pistol Pete’ Maravich, Dr. J, just to name a few.”
After graduating with a degree in journalism and English, Stollery was hired for a part-time position as a studio camera operator for the New Jersey Network, a former member of the PBS and NPR, and he later became a full-time sound technician and then a production manager.
“Another great highlight came on Oct. 27, 1986, when the New York Mets beat the Boston Red Sox in Flushing, New York, while the New York Giants were thumping the Washington Redskins in East Rutherford on their way to victory in Super Bowl XXI,” Stollery said. “For a New York sports fan, this was a night to remember, and this was my first of three Emmys that I won.”
In addition to sports stories, Stollery also created a three-part feature series on recycling, for which he won another Emmy award.
“This was in 1988 when recycling was mandatory only in a few counties and was not yet being enforced,” Stollery said. “I thought it would be really cool to show the process of what happens to glass, newspaper, cardboard and aluminum after it is recycled and reused, and my team went all over New Jersey to shoot the series.”
Stollery is now working on “Saint Joseph,” a documentary on Joseph Albright, who, at age 92, is in his 56th year as a reporter and columnist for the Jersey Journal, and is currently the longest-serving statehouse reporter in the country. The documentary is sponsored by the Corporation for New Jersey Local Media, and features Stollery’s interviews with former governors, reporters and residents as he traces the legacy that “Jersey Joe” has left.
Stollery has worked on this documentary for nearly six years, but it was interrupted by the COVID-19 lockdowns. He plans to finish his final shooting and editing by the end of the year.