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