Thursday, November 18, 2010

Help Kickstart a Documentary About 10 People Who Are Making a Difference

We got a note from photographer/filmmaker Gail Mooney today, about an ambitious global video project she's undertaking with her 23-year-old daughter, Erin Kelly, a recent graduate from Northwestern University. It's called Opening Our Eyes.

We recently returned from a 99-day journey around the world, shooting a documentary about people who are making a difference in the world. We interviewed and filmed 10 individuals on 6 continents who are creating positive change. I know the power that we as visual communicators have in creating awareness with our cameras and our craft and how that can influence and move people. Our ultimate goal for our film is to inspire and motivate others to be change makers because we believe in the power that the individual has in making a difference, even through small acts in their own communities.
Gail still has to edit 150 hours of footage, and is trying to raise funds to hire a professional editor through a Website called Kickstarter, which "supports creative projects and provides a portal through which to raise funds via crowd funding."

In other words, you can pledge any amount of money to help Gail and Erin. So far, the project has 70 Kickstart "backers" who've pledged $4,035 towards their $7,500 fundraising goal -- with just 49 days to go to secure the rest of the financing (otherwise all pledges are forfeited). "Our clock is ticking."

Take a look at a ten-minute sample of their film and check out some of the rewards for various pledge levels here.

The women were inspired to make their film by Maggie Doyne, 23, who went to high school with Erin, and was the subject of a recent cover story in the New York Times Magazine.

Maggie has built a home in Nepal for over 30 children and herself, and has recently completed the construction of a primary school for over 200 students. I knew that there had to be thousands of people like Maggie around the world who were creating positive change, and my daughter and I set out to tell their stories through film and photographs. We made the trip financially possible by cashing in all our airline miles, hotel awards and Amex points, along with some bartering - accommodations for video services.

In total, we filmed ten extraordinary people in Uganda, Poland, Russia, Nepal, Thailand, Australia, Peru and Argentina. We have one more story to tell in North America. Our intent is to create short videos on each subject for their foundations' websites, as well as a feature length documentary that will include all ten of these incredible people.

Our trip was the journey of a lifetime. Not only did we witness the power of the individual and what one can do to "make a difference," but we experienced this together. In the process of making this film and this journey, we learned about each other as the people we are - not just as a mother or a daughter. We formed a bond that will last a lifetime, and that in itself was perhaps the most rewarding part of the journey.

Our ultimate goal for the film is that it is seen by as many people as possible in the hopes that they too will be inspired and motivated to create positive change in their own communities.

You can follow our 99-day journey through our blog posts at:
For more info, and to make your pledge, go here.

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