Becoming Fools is an official selection for the 2013 Omaha Film Festival

Becoming Fools is an official selection for the 2013 Omaha Film Festival!

We are grateful for the opportunity to share Becoming Fools with Omaha and look forward to enjoying the festival events!

We would love to pack the house. Please save the date: Becoming Fools will screen sometime during the festival between March 6-10, 2013.

Stay Tuned for more details.

Thank you to the wonderful team at Omaha Film Festival!

Music Class at Art Camp 2012

Music Class at Art Camp 2012
Hello All! My name is Tina.  I had the pleasure of teaching the Music class at Art Camp this year. The main focus of the ValorArte 2012 was discovering how we are treasures of God.  In our Music class, we created drums.  The drums made beautiful rhythms, while also teaching the kids important lessons on their personal value in this world and to God.
Our class was focused on rhythm. We took empty Pringles cans (ok, we ate the Pringles!) and turned them into drums to use to make music. The drums were a representation of ourself. The first day of class, we painted the drums black. This represented the darkness that surrounds us and also the darkness and sin we carry within us. The next day, we painted the drums all white. This was to represent God covering us and making us new, a blank canvas ready to be made into a masterpiece. Then the final day, we painted our drums in beautiful colors, glitter and jewels. This was to represent the unique beauty God has created in each of us.
Music Class at Art Camp 2012
Music Class at Art Camp 2012
Music Class at Art Camp 2012
Each day, we also had a theme to the class: How our identity is shaped by everything around us. We focused on family, friends, community, environment and self. Each day in our class, I placed a pile of cotton balls and a pile of beads in the middle of our circle. The cotton represented the negative that is given to us in our lives, or “put inside our drum”.  The beads represented the positive that is given to us. The beads make a good sound in the drums and the cotton blocks it. Each child chose 5 pieces every day, a combination of cotton and beads, while thinking about the subject of the day.  These 5 pieces would symbolize their family, friends, community, etc. and the positive or negative that each bring to their lives.  For example, when we talked about family, the children thought about their family and decided whether they got mostly positive or negative from them.  They then chose cotton, beads or a combination to represent what their family “puts into their drum”.  Each day we would take the cotton out of the drum together, leaving the beads. We threw the cotton out; throwing away the bad and keeping the good. This was to show the importance of keeping the good in our lives so our drums make a good sound, but throwing out the bad so the sound is not blocked.
Music Class at Art Camp 2012

We had a wonderful week together. Some days were very challenging, but by the end of the week I could see a change in the kids. These are kids that I worked with for the entire year, but at Art Camp there was something softer about them. To hear the things that they had to say, to see the ease with which they expressed themselves, both verbally and musically, was something new and hope-filled. Healing took place and will hopefully continue!

Written by: Tina Breshears
Photography by: Sara Harper

Behind The Scenes: Cameras!

Behind The Scenes: Cameras!

I recently created and published a video talking about one of the cameras we used on the ‘Becoming Fools’ production, the Canon C300. I got such a great response I decided to also publish it here as well. I know it’s more of a tech type video but I added quite a bit of behind the scenes footage in the video itself so it was worth sharing to those who like to view that sort of thing.

To view the full post on my own personal blog, you can check that out by clicking here.

Why do we keep marching forward in something that seems so foolish?

We are fools.

Why do we keep marching forward in something that seems so foolish?

Seriously, sometimes I wonder if I am just stubborn or stupid. Either way, we are foolish for marching forward. Today, I finally finished editing Becoming Fools … and …  we received our first response back from a film festival in which we submitted the film. It went like this:

“I’m sorry to inform you that your project was not selected … Best of luck with your future projects.”

Not the most encouraging news on this milestone of production …

Now, let me set the stage for this message. I’ve been working on the Becoming Fools documentary for two years; full time for the last year and a half. And really … Full time is an understatement. It’s more like 16 hours a day, 6 days a week. I don’t share this for sympathy. I share it to reinforce the fact that I am truly, without a doubt … foolish.

From the very beginning, every step of this journey has been foolish. It’s been a marathon of impossible hurdles strung together to taunt our souls to give up:

▪    The protagonist of the story died while we were in pre-production.
▪    Amelia and I lost our day jobs within 3 weeks of each other & we were left without secure income.
▪    Our Kickstarter fundraiser failed to raise the funds we needed to produce the film.
▪    Funds were not raised to pay for the live theatrical event which is documented in the film.
▪    The lead character of the live theatrical event quit and went back to the streets.
▪    485 hours of footage needed to be translated before we could edit it down to feature length
▪    The edit took 5 months of working 16 hours a day, six days a week.
▪    We missed the opportunity to enter several large film festivals for the season.
▪    Technical difficulties made finalizing the edit very difficult.
▪    Our 1st Film Festival notice was negative.
▪    We don’t have any funds to release the film.

… And yet we continue …. WHY?

There are days in which I wonder if I have wasted the last few years of my life investing into this foolish endeavor. Somedays it stings the very core of my being and I feel like a total failure.

But then I take a deep breath and remember why we started this project: it is a story that needs to be shared so that it may inspire.

What is failure? What is foolish? Italo could be considered both. He lived his life according to the passion that God gave him. He risked his life in dangerous city streets to care for kids who were not likely to change. In fact, most of the kids he cared for still wrestle with some sort of addiction and never totally left the streets. But Italo didn’t die in the streets where he risked his life. And … His passion was reborn into not just one person, but an entire community of fools that believe they can make a difference together.

Was Italo a fool? Yes. Was he a failure? Absolutely not.

Like Italo, we continue because we ARE fools living life according to the passion God has given us, and with that established, there is no way we can fail. So we keep marching forward …

 

Will you consider giving a tax-deductible donation to help us finish this story & make a difference in the lives of homeless youth?

Give a tax-deductible donation.

 

Latin America Leads the World in Happiness

Latin America Leads the World in Happiness

The Christmas season is a time of reflection and celebration for the One who gave us life, but unfortunately, this season often adds stress to our already stressed out culture. For years, cultural studies have proven again and again that our country is far from happy, and not just during the Christmas season. One of the main pressures Americans feel is financial pressure and job related stress, often times from not making enough or losing a job.

Despite being the richest nation on earth, the United States is, according to the World Health Organization, by a wide margin, also the most anxious, with nearly a third of Americans likely to suffer from an anxiety problem in their lifetime – America the Anxious – NYTimes.com

Other wealthy countries were proven to lack in happiness as well by a recent study. Germany and France tied with Somaliland for 47th place on the list of countries ordered according to positive outlook. The United States ranked 33rd.

Latin America Leads the World in Happiness

Contrastingly in Guatemala, a country less developed and with fewer financial resources than the United States, Germany and France, the people are reported to be some of the happiest in the world. A recent poll places 7 Latin American countries in their 10 top happiest countries in the world.

Some Latin Americans said the poll hit something fundamental about their countries: a habit of focusing on positives such as friends, family and religion despite daily lives that can be grindingly difficult. – Poll says Latin Americans most upbeat – USA Today

Latin America Leads the World in Happiness

Despite the recent study, there are still some critics who warn against reading too much into the findings of this ‘happiness measure’. They warn governments not to overlook the problems facing their country, even though they scored well on positive outlook. There are many problems that face many of the countries that scored highest on the positive outlook scale, and those issues need to be addressed.

It’s a paradox with serious implications for a relatively new and controversial field called happiness economics that seeks to improve government performance by adding people’s perceptions of their satisfaction to traditional metrics such as life expectancy, per capita income and graduation rates. – Poll says Latin Americans most upbeat – USA Today

Latin America Leads the World in Happiness
Even through the evidence on either side of the ‘happiness measure’, it only takes a few days in Guatemala to witness the happiness of the Guatemalan people. Maybe it is true that Guatemalans choose to look past the economic and societal problems to appreciate their family, friends and things that truly matter in their lives; a lesson everyone can learn from.

Recycled Materials Creation Class at Art Camp 2012

If we describe what “Creation” means, we usually would use the definition of creating something using our imagination, but if we take the definition from the Bible, like we at Art Camp ValorArte 2012, we will use the definition of “producing something from nowhere”, like God did it with us.  He was so inspired and He still is, that He took a deep breath and created magnificence creatures and every single place we stand in.  For us, each kid is an amazing creation, so putting them in contact with their own imaginations we saw amazing creations using…EVERYTHING.

In the creation class, the kids used materials that we use every day, every moment, without realizing in how many ways with our imagination, we can use that material to create an amazing art project.  We used water bottles, chip bags, used cardboard and plastic (plates, forks, etc.), Styrofoam cups, aluminum foil, string, rope, toilet paper, paper towel and much more!  We realized the only things the kids needed was imagination and encouragement. They needed people like us to believe in their abilities and with some helpful tips, we got the best-recycled materials art museum EVER.  Their creations were not only works of art, but also expression of their soul because each creation is a story telling us what and how they feel.  It was just fascinating!!

Recycled Materials Creation Class at Art Camp 2012

Every day, we focused in a bible verse.  We used the bible verses to connect their creativity with their spiritual and sensitive side, getting not just this amazing art works, but making them value what they did, getting them to value their selves. We talked with the kids about how their identity is shaped by my family and heritage.  We made a floor plan of their houses, reflecting what they liked and didn’t like about their home.  We then created their dream home out of different recycled materials.  I mean, after all in our heritage we were promised the Promised Land.  So if we are sons and daughters from a KING, that means we can have anything we want, it’s just a matter of believing, or better said… FAITH.

Recycled Materials Creation Class at Art Camp 2012

Also, we talked with the kids about how their identity is shaped by their community and friends.  We made a secret present for a friend.  Each present had their friend’s amazing characteristics and abilities written on it. We taught the kids to remember that every characteristic we have makes us unique.

Recycled Materials Creation Class at Art Camp 2012

Each day we had a different reflection, a different art project, a different experience and a different way of getting to know each kid.  We enjoyed their laughing, their talents, their creativity and their huge smiles.  Most importantly, each day, we had an opportunity to change someone’s life.  Art Camp was an opportunity to make a difference in their lives and make the kids realize how incredible they are.  When the kids created their dream houses, they didn’t ask for a huge house with plasma TV’s, all they wanted was an opportunity or for someone to believe in them and show them how far they can succeed.

Recycled Materials Creation Class at Art Camp 2012

At the end of the day if God carried a huge cross for our sins, and for us to live this amazing life, we can help someone carry their own cross; their heavy and painful cross.  Together our cross will never be heavy, because we have someone helping us.  We have the ability to change someone’s life, so what better way to change this world than by helping a kid with a huge cross? I guess all we need is to create, to believe and to act.

Recycled Materials Creation Class at Art Camp 2012

Written by Marcela Olivet

Photography by Sara Harper