September is here, and we are nowhere near where we imagined we would be at this time. We had this vision that we would obtain a producer that wanted to fund the entire project (which is still a real possibility) and that we would be in Africa in just a few days, but life never turns out as you plan. Not to say that all is bad or that we are failing. Quite the opposite, good things are happening all the time. Just recently Paul Rusesabagina notified us that he wanted to be involved with our project, so we will be interviewing him when he visits St. Louis in November. Mr. Rusesabagina is the man the movie Hotel Rwanda is based on, and he is an internationally known speaker. We feel so privileged to be securing these interviews that were once just a dream. Also, we have been offered a contract by a literary agent who is working on a book deal for us. News like this comes in nearly every week these days.
However, we are realizing that our eyes need to be set on our trip to Africa. The interviews we are securing are powerful. Our interviews with Invisible Children, SOLD, Falling Whistles, and Richard Carrier taught us so much, and we still hope to have interviews with many other key leaders in the fight against poverty. All these interviews will play an important role in either the feature length documentary or the educational DVD we will put out after the film.
However, what sets Give A Damn? apart is the idea that we are going to live in extreme poverty ourselves. Today's youth are amused by the lighthearted entertainment routinely found on YouTube and the display of real people enduring extreme circumstances seen in reality shows such as Jackass, so that is what we are going to give them. Our film is going to be funny and random, and we are surely going to be in extreme circumstances as we travel across Africa surviving on only one dollar a day. Doing all this in the hopes that we can tell a compelling story that will reach young people where they are at, hopefully leading them to make fighting poverty a priority in their lives, helping turn apathy into action. To do that, we are now honing in on raising the funds we will need to get to Africa and make this key part of the film.
For this reason, we are postponing our trip to D.C. and the South. We had great interviews scheduled with G-I Net, the World Bank, and several other organizations, but we will do those after we shoot the key part of the film, the Africa $1 a day portion. We don't have the money to spend on these trips right now, so we will be staying here in St. Louis to focus on fundraising specifically for Africa. We are able to focus on Africa because from the money we have raised so far, over $9000, we were able to buy enough equipment to pull this project off, pay our office rent, and are other expenses thus far. We just recently bought our HD camera and most of our essential audio equipment (picture included.) So that is more good news...things are moving along.
On Oct. 14th, David Peterka and I are scheduled to speak at a conference on economic justice here in St. Louis at Manchester United Methodist Church in Manchester (flyer attached) and hopefully we will be able to raise money there. In the presentation, we are attempting to answer the questions: Will the next generation make a difference in the injustice in this world and what works in trying to turn young people's apathy into action. As you can guess, Give A Damn? will be one of the main things we push in this presentation. Other speaking engagements have also opened up around town, and we hope to use these presentations as a catalyst for fundraising and spreading the movement. If you feel lead to do a fundraiser or host a speaking engagement for Give A Damn? in your community, please contact us. That would be infinitely encouraging for us and we would love to work with you on this.
For the next two weeks, David and I will be focusing on this presentation by reading, watching films, and praying in the hopes that we will be inspired. This means that you might not hear much from us the next couple of weeks, but we believe we will come back even stronger, rested, and inspired. This will be the first week I have taken off from Give A Damn? in 2008, so I am looking forward to it. Rob is also taking a break for the next week, so expect a little bit of silence from our end. Still feel free to send email, we will still be checking it every couple of days or so.
Also, we just want to quickly say thanks to everyone for your support. I want to specifically thank all those who have given so much of their time for little or no money. I want to thank John Choura, Julie VanMater and Kevin Bracket for their graphic and web design work over this past year. I want to thank Kyle Montgomery, Doug Parris, the Heykoop's, the Peterka's, Chesterfield Presbyterian Church, Pete Weitzel, Conversantlife, Rock for Justice, all our amazing friends here in St. Louis, and all those who gave us an interview, those who housed us, and those who assisted during our California tour. Also, thank you to everyone who has either donated cash or stuff for us to sell on ebay. Your gifts have gone a long way.
"Never doubt that a small, group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."- Margaret Mead