Monday, October 17, 2011

Filming of AFE Documentary In Progress

In 2010 a moving documentary rocked a film festival in Southern California. The twelve-minute film showed footage of Hurricane Mitch (which struck Honduras in 1998); it explained how many families were forced to scavenge when they lost everything, and how AFE began in response to the growing number of children in the trash dump.

The producer of “Awaken Honduras” took footage in the dump and spent the night with the Paz family to see first-hand how an average family from the garbage dump lives. Viewers were aghast when they saw Jefry Paz sleeping on the floor, his head propped up against a cement wall, and his younger sister sleeping on top of garbage bags.

In response to this film, the Paz family was one of the first AFE families to receive new, dignified housing. The mother of the Paz family has become a leader in AFE’s women’s co-op, Luz y Esperanza, and does well enough to provide for her family. The tanned toddler who sat in the dirt has become a sweetheart of AFE’s, charming everyone with brilliant smile. And the oldest daughter in the Paz family makes the best marks in the eighth grade.Not only has the Paz family prospered from their participation in “Awaken Honduras,” but the film has been instrumental in AFE fundraising across the country.

Now JJ Starr, Awaken’s producer, is back to shoot a longer documentary and tell more of AFE’s story. His new project, loosely titled “See You at the University” will be 50 to 90 minutes and highlight AFE’s first group of students to go on to study at college. He is focusing the story on two extraordinary students: Rene Elvir, the first child Pastor Jeony rescued from the garbage dump, and Merlin Valladares, who has gone to great lengths to continue studying at AFE.

JJ Starr and Lindsay Jernigan have donated their time and expertise to make this movie.

The documentary is scheduled to be completed in 2012, depending on whether more footage is needed. In its completion, this film will be instrumental in the long-term fundraising task of finding college scholarships for AFE students as they graduate high school.

Look for it on JJ’s website, Falling Kid, and see some of the other amazing projects whose stories he has told through film.