We spent three weeks in Guatemala during the month of November to officially begin production for Becoming Fools. During this time, we interviewed 24 people including street youth, professional clowns, government officials, church ministries, foster families, rehabilitation participants and organizations responding to the needs of homeless youth. We also captured footage at several clowning events and training sessions. It was inspiring to see the street youth working so hard to improve their skills and pursue a dream. Needless to say, we were very busy!
We learned so much about the issue. Many children begin street life because their parents send them there. Children sell candy and trinkets to contribute to the family’s income. Parents sometimes physically abuse children who don’t bring home enough money. As result, many 8 year olds decide to leave their homes and keep what little money they make. We met a seven year old girl who was all alone, selling candy outside a restaurant at 10:30 PM on a very cold night. She explained that she hadn’t eaten in 48 hours, but refused to allow us to buy her dinner because it would end up making her more hungry in the long run. Guatemala’s streets are full of children just like her.
It was very emotional to immerse ourselves in the details of this issue. Day after day we listened to heartbreaking stories from youth who have been physically and sexually abused, addicted to drugs and have spent years surviving in the streets of Guatemala. But there is another side to the story. We were blessed to be able to document the hope and restoration that is possible when people invest their lives to help these youth. Ministries like Iglesia Sinai’s “Agentes de Cambio” are going to the streets to help these youth. Organizations like MOJOCA and VIVA are rehabilitating and providing job placement to people who have no opportunities … And … professional clowns like Fergie are investing into street youth in a very unique way that provides the theme for our film.
Mefi is a primary character of our documentary who tragically lost his parents as a child and spent years living in the streets addicted to drugs. He has been enrolled in a rehab program for almost a year and completely turned his life around. Mefi is learning to clown and dreams of one day performing as a professional clown to inspire kids. He is not alone in this dream. Others like Willy, Byron, Ernesto and Raul are preparing with professional clowns for a public event that we will document later in 2012 as a part of Becoming Fools.
Film production is hard work. Production days are long and there is very little rest. Several of us ended up getting sick and needed antibiotics. However, the work is very rewarding. We captured some incredible stories and enjoyed working with our Guatemalan team members who are passionate about film, their country and their people. We were exhausted, but we journeyed together.
Since returning home, we have been busy reviewing footage and interviews from our trip to begin the editing process. We plan to return to Guatemala early in February or March 2012 to continue documenting the story.
Art Camp Highlight
In addition to production for Becoming Fools, we also had the opportunity to invest in the the community of La Limonada, which is featured in our documentary Reparando. We partnered with Lemonade International to teach a week long Art Camp to children from La Limonada. Words cannot even begin to describe the experience. Click here to watch our Art Camp highlight video. It will make you smile! Towards the end of the trip, we also attended a screening of ‘Reparando’ with the La Limonada community. It was a blessing and an honor to share THEIR story with them.
We were able to begin the production of the film because of the generous support of so many individuals. We have collected $50,000 of the $105,000 pledged. If you pledged to the project, please consider making your tax-deductible donation so we prepare our 2012 budget.
Thank you for joining us on this journey,
Scott & Amelia