“Take A Swim”

The trailer for the documentary film Reparando shows quick-shot images of leaflets falling from the sky, crowds of people fleeing the police, tattoos on the back of a gang member in Guatemala City, arresting images of human remains on forensic examination tables, and the “Doll Lady” picking the arm of a baby doll from the garbage in a dump. Could there possibly be anything redemptive coming out of a film featuring that kind of imagery in a trailer?

After 2 ½ years of work, a vision that was birthed during a conversation with gang members in a Central America prison has come to life. On a visit to a gang unit with the chaplains we support in Guatemala City, Scott Moore was deeply moved by the stories of the young men he met that day. He describes it as being able to see stories in the eyes of the young men hiding behind the threatening war paint of their tattoos. He felt responsible to do something in response to what he had seen and the vision for a film (which now has the name “Reparando”) was birthed.

Weaving through the story line in Reparando are people and ministries who are a core part of the Estrategía de Transformación (EdT as the name given to CTM’s work in Latin America) missional community in Guatemala City. Reparando seeks to lift some of these stories up and place them before the world as examples of God’s scandalous and magnificent grace leading to transformational outreach in some very hard places.

A definition of grace repeatedly espoused by our work at CTM is that “grace, like water, always flows downhill and pools up in the lowest places.” This film is an invitation to the viewing audience to “take a swim” in the deep reservoirs of God’s grace found in some very surprising places and people.

Erwin “Shorty” Luna grew up a street kid in Guatemala City and then turned into a gang member and drug addict. His life is in the process of radical “repair” and he now serves as a pastor and a gang chaplain. Tita Evertz lived through the pain and torture of domestic violence and became a heavy drug user. She too is in the process of a major “repair job” and now runs two schools in the largest slum in Central America called “La Limonada.” It is there that the bulk of the Reparando storyline takes place as Shorty and Tita join forces as agents of transformation in the work of “repairing” La Limonada.

The film was produced and directed by the Tennessee-based Athentikos (meaning “authentic” in Greek) which is the fruit of that infamous prison visit mentioned above. The Athentikos founders, Scott and Amelia Moore, have adopted two children from Guatemala. During visits to Guatemala in the process of adopting their boys, they were exposed to the gang prisons, Guatemala City and the missional community of the EdT. As a result of vision captured during those visits, Athentikos was born.

Reparando is the first of many films telling stories of inspiring transformation that Athentikos hopes to produce in the years to come and it does not shy away from the historical roots that lay the context for the current social realities and challenges in Guatemala. The narration in the trailer states that “on the morning of June 18, 1954, the US CIA dropped leaflets in Guatemala City demanding the resignation of the president. Guatemala was ravaged by Civil War for the next 36 years. But, out of this time of war, hope is rising. In the midst of incredible odds, victims have been transformed into champions who willfully embrace the pain of their past to help repair the next generation.”

The working metaphor for the film is framed around the microenterprise work of a woman who works in the garbage dump and who is affectionately known as the “doll lady.” She finds and/or buys discarded parts of destroyed and mutilated dolls from the landfill and then carefully and meticulously washes, restores, redeems, and repairs them (hence the name Reparando), framing the Gospel metaphor for the film.

Reparando is premiering in Michigan, Kansas City and Nashville in October and in Guatemala in November. It has been selected for screening in three film festivals to date and will go on a screening tour in the U.S. after the first of the year. We are thrilled beyond words to see these stories on the big screen are extremely proud of the finished product.

See information about the film at reparandomovie.com and go here to see the trailer: http://vimeo.com/12475578.


Joel Van Dyke
Director Estrategía de Transformación
(CTM in Latin America)

GRFF – Day 2

Thursday, August 26 was a great day for ‘Reparando’. Our friends in Guatemala held a private screening for hundreds of Guatemalan leaders to cast the vision for our November Premiere in Guatemala City. I haven’t gotten a detailed report, but heard that it went very well. My favorite detail is that Maria the Doll Lady was in attendance – this makes me smile! I am looking forward to experiencing the story with them in November!

Here in the States, we were busy as well. In the morning I received notice that ‘Reparando’ was featured on PasteMagazine.com as one of 10 documentaries to see this fall.

For lunch, Paul took me to meet Cort Langeland of Compass Film Academy. We toured their facility and ate across the street at a great deli. Compass is doing some incredible things with future leaders in the film industry. I highly recommend their program to anyone who wants to get involved in Film.

Later in the evening we held a planning and brainstorming meeting for the October Premiere here in Michigan. I am thrilled with the ideas that are developing in this community! After the meeting, we drove over to the Founders for some more engaging discussion, music, and a sampling of their wares. We swapped stories and dreamed of future initiatives late into the night. Stay tuned for details on some very unique events in Michigan!

The Road Trip – GRFF – Day 1

I love road trips, so the 10 hour drive to the Grand Rapids Film Festival wasn’t bad. I loaded up my iPhone with some of my favorite tunes, hit the road at 6AM, and rolled into Grand Rapids about 4:00.

Shortly after my arrival, I drove over to the Celebration Cinema to check in and pick up my filmmaker packet. This is where the story turns into a “little did he know”. My excitement quickly waned as the Festival representative shuffled through the filmmaker packets several times and came up empty handed. It was like being in a fast food drive-thru and being asked to “pull forward” while other people race by with burgers in hand. I’m not sure what the cause was, but for some reason my packet wasn’t there. The rep asked me to check back later. After a 10 hour drive, this was not exactly the experience I was hoping for. Just picture me standing there in a crowd of filmmakers receiving their packets …. “No .. but for real …. I am the producer and director … really … LOL …”

So, I found a quiet room and took a nap for about an hour. My packet never arrived. The festival rep reassured me the packet would be available tomorrow but that I could go in and enjoy the festival without the magic packet … So I did.

The Festival kicked off at 7PM with a pretty swanky welcoming reception in the lobby of the Celebration Cinema. I spent some time enjoying some food, and discussion with fellow filmmakers and wrapped the opening event with a premiere of a movie called ‘The Genesis Code’.

After the festival events I drove over to a “friend of a friend’s” where I am staying while I am in GR. We sat on the front porch talking late into the night about film, Guatemala and creative endeavors … great discussion and a wonderful end to a long day … I now consider Paul a friend without the middleman and am thankful for his family’s hospitality.

I really do love road trips. The great thing about a journey is not the destination, but the experience along the way. Upon further reflection, I have decided that this was an absolute perfect way to start my first film festival – not just the great discussion at the end of the day, but also the awkward and somewhat humiliating experience that happened earlier in the day with the “missing packet incident”. I’m not a glutton for punishment. I don’t enjoy being humiliated. But, this was a perfect reminder that this isn’t about me. It’s not about putting me in the spotlight. Its about something bigger than me, something I could never dream or do on my own … A road trip planned by someone with a much better map than me.

Letting Go

Creating art is easy. It is the letting go part that’s difficult …

I don’t necessarily consider myself an insecure person. Normally, I don’t care what people think about me. I’ve never struggled with peer pressure. If I believe I should do something, I do it. That has been the case with ‘Reparando’. Over two and a half years ago, I believed this was something I should do. So, I committed to see this project to completion. It was hard work, like climbing a mountain at times … but all in all, not overwhelming. I just focused on the goal and kept moving forward one step at a time. However, now that I have reached that goal, I find myself feeling strangely defenseless, like I climbed a mountain and now I am standing on top naked for everyone to see. I have been asking myself why, because I thought I was pretty confident.

A couple weeks ago, about 30 minutes after Amelia and I put our sons to bed, Micah came downstairs crying hysterically. We were able to calm him down enough to ask what happened. Evidently, some kids were playing outside his bedroom and he opened the window to say hello. I won’t go into the fact that he should have been sleeping … that is another story. Long story short, these kids said some mean things and hurt Micah’s feelings. Wow … This was a new emotion for Amelia and me. We were both distraught over the whole ordeal. Someone hurt our son and we didn’t like it. We could hardly sleep that night.

I don’t share this story as an attempt to be even more naked on a mountain. I share it because it helps me realize why I feel the way I do about ‘Reparando’. Art is a product, of it’s creator, much like a child is a product of their parent. I can raise Micah with love and support, mold him into a way that I believe is best, but at some point, I will have to let him go into the world. I will have to trust that Micah’s life has a purpose outside of my hands. Some people won’t embrace Micah, or his purpose, but I will still have to let him go. The same holds true for ‘Reparando’. I have thoroughly enjoyed molding ‘Reparando’ into what it is. I’m creative and love to create, but now it is time to let go.

We were accepted into Grand Rapid’s Film Festival right about the time we shipped the final product to replication and I was feeling pretty good about our ‘baby’. But shortly after, I learned that ‘Reparando’ wasn’t accepted into a couple other festivals. I immediately began to feel like that previously mentioned naked mountain climber. I began to question the time and energy I spent producing this project. Suddenly, I was insecure.

I shared my heart with a close friend who reminded why I did what I did … why I spent two and a half years producing this documentary. I didn’t do it to win an award. I didn’t do it to make money for myself. I did it because I had to. I had to respond. I believed it was the right thing to do. Right after our conversation, I received an email notifying our acceptance into the Kansas International FIlm Festival. We’ve entered about 25 film festivals so far and are batting .500 for the 4 who have made decisions. 50/50 … not so bad when I think about it. But I don’t want to think about it too much. That is what made me insecure in the first place.

I know this: We’re sharing a powerful story about Guatemala and it’s people that needs to be heard. Despite my own imperfections, I trust that it has a purpose outside of my hands and that it will connect with those who God intends. I can be secure in that.

And some day … I will watch this work of art with my Guatemalan sons. That is worth more to me than any award I could ever imagine.

Grand Rapids Film Festival

‘Reparando’ is an official selection in the 2010 Grand Rapids Film Festival in Grand Rapids, MI. Come on out to celebrate this milestone with us!

Here are the details:

4:00 PM Theatre 11
Friday, August 27 2010 Celebration Cinema North
2121 Celebration Dr. NE
Grand Rapids, MI 49525
(616) 530-7469

Film Festivals – Update

This week we learned that ‘Reparando’ is an official selection in the Grand Rapids Film Festival. Several of our team will be traveling to Michigan at the end of August to attend our first film premiere. We are very excited.

We also submitted Reparando into the following film festivals, bringing the total potential festivals up to 22 with international entries into Mexico and Canada.

Festival Information Festival Dates Notify Date
Oaxaca FilmFest Apartado Postal #156
Oficina Correos Centro
Oaxaca 68001
Phone: +52 1 951 154 3661
11/08/10 – 11/11/10 09/16/10
Whistler Film Festival #1004
106-4368 Main Street
Whistler BC V0N 1B4
Phone: 604-938-3206
Fax: 604-938-3209
12/01/10 – 12/05/10 11/01/10
Sundance Film Festival 1825 Three Kings Dr
Park City UT 84060
Phone: 310-360-1981
Fax: 310-360-1969
01/20/11 – 01/30/11 12/06/10
Dallas Film Festival 3625 N. Hall St. – Ste. 740
Dallas TX 75219
Phone: 214.720.0555
Fax: 214.720.0551
03/31/11 – 04/10/11 03/04/11
Nashville Film Festival 161 Rains Ave.
Nashville TN 37203
Phone: 615-742-2500
Fax: 615-742-1004
04/14/11 – 04/21/11 02/15/11

Film Festivals – Round 1

We locked the Reparando edit this week. We still have work to complete before we are completely finished, but decided to move forward with Film Festival entries so we could make some of the 2010 season. Film festivals are a great way to present a film to a broad audience, network in the film community, and possibly gain distribution. A few of the festivals are Oscar qualifying … it doesn’t hurt to dream. We are hopeful that Reparando will not only get accepted into festivals, but that it will win a few to gain some exposure for our film and help raise capital for Micro-Finance in Guatemala.

Through an amazing website called withoutabox.com we were able to enter into 17 film festivals scheduled from August 2010 through March 2011 with relative ease. We will notify you as soon as we know if our film is accepted into each festival. We look forward to sharing this amazing story with the public.

The table below details the film festivals we have entered so far and are listed in order of festival dates.

Festival Information Festival Dates Notify Date
Grand Rapids Film Festival PO Box 1772
Grand Rapids MI 49501
Phone: 616-451-2700
Fax: 616-301-1500
08/25/10 – 08/29/10 08/06/10
San Diego Film Festival 10981 San Diego Mission Rd.
Suite 112
San Diego CA 92108
Phone: (619) 582-2368
Fax: (619) 286-8324
09/29/10 – 10/03/10 09/01/10
Kansas International Film Festival c/o Leawood Theatare
3859 W. 95th St
Overland Park KS 66206
Phone: 913-642-4404
10/01/10 – 10/07/10 08/15/10
Heartland Film Festival 200 South Meridian Street
Suite 220
Indianapolis IN 46225
Phone: 317-464-9405
Fax: 317-464-9409
10/14/10 – 10/23/10 09/04/10
Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival 819 Central Avenue
Hot Springs National Park AR 71901
Phone: 501-321-4747
Fax: 501-321-0211
10/15/10 – 10/24/10 09/10/10
Arpa International Film Festival 2919 Maxwell Street
Los Angeles CA 90027
Phone: 323-663-1882
Fax: 323-663-1882
10/15/10 – 10/17/10 09/01/10
Jacksonville Film Festival c/o TigerLily Media
2011 Belote Pl
Jacksonville FL 32207
Phone: 904-858-9889
Fax: 904-858-9887
10/13/10 – 10/17/10 09/13/10
Philadelphia Film Festival 600 Chestnut Street
Suite 705
Philadelphia PA 19106
Phone: 215-253-3599
Fax: 215-754-4969
10/14/10 – 10/24/10 08/20/10
Santa Fe Film Festival 60 W San Francisco Street
Suite 307
Santa Fe NM 87504
Phone: 505.988.7414
Fax: 505.988.7648
10/20/10 – 10/24/10 09/30/10
Austin Film Festival 1801 Salina St.
Austin TX 78702
Phone: 800-310-3378
Fax: 512-478-6205
10/21/10 – 10/28/10 09/22/10
Savannah Film Festival c/o Savannah College of Art and Design
PO Box 3146
Savannah GA 31402-3146
Phone: 912-525-5051
Fax: 912-525-5052
10/30/10 – 11/06/10 08/31/10
AFI Fest 2021 North Western Avenue
Los Angeles CA 90027
Phone: 866 234 3378
Fax: 323 462 4049
11/04/10 – 11/11/10 10/08/10
St. Louis International Film Festival Centene Center for Arts and Education
3547 Olive Street
St. Louis MO 63103-1014
Phone: 314-289-4150
Fax: 314-289-4159
11/11/10 – 11/21/10 09/15/10
Big Sky Documentary Film Festival 131 South Higgins Avenue, Suite 3-6
Missoula MT 59802
Phone: (406) 541-3456
02/11/11 – 02/20/10 01/01/11
Cinequest Film Festival Attn: Programming
PO BOX 720040
San Jose CA 95172-0040
Phone: 408-995-5033
Fax: 408-995-5713
02/22/11 – 03/06/11 01/15/11
San Diego Latino Film Festival c/o Media Arts Center San Diego
921 25th Street
San Diego CA 92102
Phone: 619-230-1938
Fax: 619-230-1937
02/10/11 – 02/20/11 02/15/11
Omaha Film Festival PO Box 540730
Omaha NE 68154
Phone: 402-415-6272
03/03/11 – 03/06/11 01/30/11