Sadly, the Detroit film community has lost a treasured colleague and friend. Trish Kraus, aka "Jet", passed away, August 16, 2013. Trish was loved by many in the Detroit film industry and will be fondly remembered as the driving force behind the camera on many productions. Trish's talents, both in front of and behind the camera, were many and varied. Over the years, Trish lent her skills as Director, Producer, Production Manager, Actor and even Set Designer. Trish, it seemed, was good at everything she tried. In addition to many local film productions, she was Assistant Director on Autoweek's Vinsetta Garage, which aired on Discovery's Velocity channel. She was also a frequent participant in the 48 Hr. Film Challenge. In 2010, Trish served as Production Manager for Scallywag Entertainment's entry, which placed second overall and won best cinematography in the National 48 Hour Film Challenge. With Trish's help, Scallywag also won 1st place two years in a row at the Detroit Windsor International film festival 48 hour challenge, in 2010 with Fall of a Sparrow and in 2011 with The Paperman. Trish line produced and assistant directed both productions.
Her death came as a crushing blow to those friends and colleagues who knew her best. Trish loved her Detroit "film family" and the feeling was definitely mutual. I asked some of her closest Detroit Film Industry colleagues and friends to share some of their memories of Trish Kraus:
Filmmaker Heather Robinson
The first time I met Trish Kraus I knew I had met someone truly special. She had applied to be a PA on my First film Oblivion the week we were going to begin shooting. As a First time Director I was afraid to bring on a new person when the crew had already basically met and grew together but I said SURE. She came to our final meeting the day before shooting and literally lit up the room with her smile, and we were in a basement so that isn’t always easy. Her laugh was contagious and she seemed to know so much about what to do already I knew immediately she was no PA, she needed a bigger role. I just didn’t expect that role would later become my friend, and ultimately my FAMILY.
Filmmaker, actress and close friend, Kimi Alani:
Let's not forget her compassion and willingness to help others when they were in crisis or that she loved her Native American heritage. She was a strong patriot for justice causes. She was a safe place for me to fall!! Goodness, what a blessing! Like I said, I could understand the place inside her moccs.
Filmmaker and Director, Michael Clark, Scallywag Entertainment:
Trish was a huge part of my production family and close friend. If I was the creative head, my producers were my legs and my crew my arms, Trish was the backbone of Scallywag Entertainment. She was the hardest working lady in our film community. Always on top of every little detail and always a smile on her face. After a 15 hour long day of shooting, while we lay on the ground exhausted she would be cleaning up and getting ready for the next day. So much energy, super human amounts of energy, from a lady older then me and who had beat cancer. She was like no other. She was my friend, my cheerleader and my rock. She used to tell me " you are a great director, you are going places" In which I would tell her I wasn't going anywhere without her. When she got in any position to hire or recommend me she always did. She always looked out for me and I would tell anyone who would listen that I owed so much of my accolades as a film maker to Trish Kraus.... She made it look easy. And I was just one of many film makers she worked with, but I would like to think that she was foremost a Scallywagger at heart . She would come to all my gatherings and BBQ's and she would take over the kitchen as it were a film set. Making fruit salad, cleaning counters and as always smiling and laughing. We had a great professional relationship that grew into a friendship that will be with me until my last day here. I am so incredibly sad and heartbroken over the loss of the most terrific lady I have ever known.
Filmmaker Marija Makeska:
She started in my films. I had no idea who she was but one day she showed up to help on my student film because her friend Sadet agreed to help and I knew Sadet from another student film I did right before that one, called "It's a Small World", and here is Trish showing up at "Slippery People" and I don't remember what was her role but it was very minor. Then, all of a sudden she said "you can have my BMW for your production" and I was thrilled! So, she stood the entire production on the set waiting for us to finish the scene but she gradually started getting herself involved in the little things like bringing food to the set giving us heads up of the time and just those little but significant things at the time she had no idea what films here were about, but I think she saw the potential of herself getting involved. she was a very dedicated, helpful person and she was a true friend.
In addition to her film work, Trish Kraus was also a spokesperson for The Colon Cancer Alliance, after having been diagnosed with the disease in 2006 and was a 2010 "Colondar" model for the organization. Trish's mother had died at age 46 from colon cancer, as did her grandmother at age 32 and great-grandmother at age 28. Trish's sister also died of colon cancer at age 44. All had Lynch syndrome, a rare genetic disorder that predisposes people with the inherited defect to develop colorectal and other forms of cancer. True to form, though, Trish was able to beat the disease, with the help of Karmanos Cancer Center and went on to advocate for other victims of the disease. She appeared in a television commercial for Karmanos in September of 2009. Trish was a true inspiration to cancer victims and survivors.
Trish Kraus was 50 years old and leaves behind her husband of 35 years, John; three children, April 31, Jonathon 28 and Rachael 27; and seven grandchildren, Alexis 9, Jamie 8, Abigail 7, Ethan 6, Miley 5, Kendal 5 and Kaeden 4.
The author wishes to thank the family and friends of Jet Trish Kraus for their contributions to this article.