Our supporters have kept us going through the ups and downs of production of Reparando and Becoming Fools. It encourages us to hear the stories and see the ways God is using our films to inspire authentic response in the United States, Guatemala and around the world. One of our faithful supporters is Kali Pliego. She has deep ties to Guatemala as she started her own non-profit organization, Se Luz, in Santiago Sacatepequez, Guatemala. She discovered Athentikos after the release of Reparando, and most recently was able to be a part of the first screening of Becoming Fools at the Omaha Film Festival in March. From Minneapolis to Omaha, she drove 6 hours through the snow to be with us to premiere Becoming Fools. Here is her reflection of the experience and Becoming Fools Review.
Becoming Fools Review from Kali Pliego
I was introduced to Athentikos when a friend posted something about their first documentary Reparando on facebook. I, of course, am interested in anything related to Guatemala that I can get my hands on, so it did not take me long to get my own copy of Reparando. Then naturally, when I heard about the new film, Becoming Fools, I was an early adopter. I donated what I could afford during the pre-production Kickstarter campaign, and recruited others to do the same.
Sidenote: One of the perks given to me for my donation was a mention in the end credits of the finished documentary. I didn’t think that mattered much to me until I actually saw my name up on the screen after having watched the film and just burning with pride to know that I supported the telling of this important story.
One day, I saw some photos posted to Facebook on the Athentikos page that made me take a second look. I recognized one of the street youth in the pictures. On several occasions between 2000 and 2005 I visited kids like these in Guatemala City with a friend who did ministry in the streets. The day I saw the photos online, I dug out my old pictures to see if that was indeed the same guy. After careful comparison, I am convinced that the young man in my pictures is the same one who showed up on facebook. You could say I was already ‘all in’ on supporting Becoming Fools, but that day the film became personal.
In the spirit of full disclosure, I admit I am thoroughly biased and therefore probably not a very good film critic. I have nothing negative to say about Becoming Fools. I thought the storyline was laid out very well, weaving individual histories into the countdown of days until the show. There was a palpable tension regarding both aspects of the documentary—would the street youth be able to pull this production off? And, in the end, would everyone turn out okay? Would these kids have their ‘happy ending’?
I have two favorite parts in Becoming Fools. First is seeing the youth, who were preparing a clown performance to honor their mentor, in various shots just sitting in the seats of the Teatro Abril and letting the significance of the show sink in. The Teatro Abril is Guatemala’s finest stage, normally reserved for high class, cultured performances. And here we have a group of street youth, that is homeless, invisible, rejected, hurting kids pulling together to pay tribute to their beloved mentor, Italo, on that very stage. I love the paradox of that. Somehow the distance, some would call it disparity, between the street youth clown performers and their privileged audience adds to the significance of the event. Second, I loved seeing the professional clowns and the director work with such dedication to and compassion for the street youth.
It was love lived out on film.
“Becoming Fools” is not just a cute title for this documentary. I believe it is a mandate of scripture for all believers. To the Corinthians, the Apostle Paul wrote, “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God” (1 Corinthians 1:18). He goes on to teach that it will be the fools who shame the wise in God’s kingdom and the weak who will shame the strong (v. 27). We get a glimpse of this Truth in the documentary. We see the power that ‘becoming fools’ has in the lives of each youth involved to bring them back to the childhood they had lost, and innocence that was forgotten long ago. We see the youth reclaim dreams—of a reunited family, of getting off the streets and off of drugs. Within the act of becoming fools, we’ve stumbled upon a key to unlock the chains that bind us. What a beautiful message of hope!
Athentikos needs your help to bring Becoming Fools to your city for a screening. I am committed, and have already sought out potential partnerships with homeless youth advocates in my city, Minneapolis, who may be willing to host a screening. You see, while the setting of this documentary is in Guatemala, which may seem a million miles away, the theme of homeless youth hits very close to home, no matter what city that is. I will do everything I can to spread the word about Becoming Fools and to spread awareness of this issue. Will you join me?