A documentary about nearly retired couple from the U.S. who opened a children's home in El Salvador.
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This 90-minute documentary will follow Don and Rose Ann Benner; where they have come and the challenges they must now face at Shalom. It will focus on four children at the home who's lives have been completely changed because of the Benner's work. This film will adress the question, "What does it mean to have 'Shalom', in its literal sense of the word?"
Don Benner, a World War II veteran, was working in an executive position at a corporation based in Colorado. At age 52, instead of thinking about retirement, he couldn't shake the thought that he was meant to do something more. He decided to follow this idea and see where it would lead. In 1976, he and his wife, Rose Ann, moved their family to Central America where they opened the first Christian bookstore in El Salvador.
Meanwhile, the 12-year Salvadorian Civil War was just beginning. Over the next few years, the Benner's witnessed countless children being left homeless and orphaned by parents who were either killed or fled the country as refugees. It became suddenly clear what their true purpose was in El Salvador.
In 1982, the Benner's opened Shalom Children's Home, which then housed 13 orphaned children. The children remain at this home until they are 18-21 years old. As the numbers grew from 13 to over 50 children, so did the need for academic education. In 1994, the Benner's founded a school just outside of Shalom's gates. The school- open to the entire community- has a capacity for up to 300 students from pre-school through 9th grade.
But the Benner's didn't stop there. Over the years, they have founded many projects... The Oasis Children's Feeding Ministry, where the children from Shalom serve food to homeless families in the community... The Nehemiah Project, which provides vocational training and classes for young people who have been involved in the street gangs of El Salvador...The Shalom Family Medical Center, which provides medical care for the children and residents of the surrounding community.
Through many years of hard work and determination, the Benner's have seen incredible change in the lives of countless children and members of the community.
Lately, however, the Benner's have had to deal with challenges that they never expected to face . The Salvadorian government has been taking children out of the home and placing them back with their parents on the streets. They have already taken six children from the home. In most cases, the parents either can't care for them or don't want them back and the children end up abandoned once again.
After all that has been done to give them a home, an education, and a family at Shalom, the Benner's must now find a way to help these children who have been taken.
Micaela Femiano (Director), Zac Donohoe (Producer), and Darika Fuhrmann are students in their last year of the Film Production program at Arizona State University. Since volunteering at Shalom in 2011, Micaela has been planning this documentary as her thesis film for the program. Zac and Darika came on board in 2012 and are excited to be a part the first ASU student film to be shot in Central America. Tons of work has been put into the preproduction of this film including weekly meetings with professors, numerous classes devoted entirely to the project, and endless research and planning. Students and faculty members are excited to see this project finally come to fruition.
- Travel (5 Person Crew & Interpreter) - $6,600
- Room & Board (5 Person Crew & Interprater)- $3,540
- Gas- $200
- Supplies- $300
- Media Storage- $600
- Camera A & B (Canon 5D & Lens Package)- $5,600
- Lighting (LED)- $600
- Sound (Lav's and Shotgun)- $2,000
- 10% Contingency- $1,944
- $8,000 Outside fundraising (grants, personal, etc.)
KICKSTARTER TOTAL: $13,384
Meet The Benner's...
Meet The Kids...
OTHER WAYS YOU CAN HELP...
1. Check out our website- www.heartofshalom.com
3. Spread the word!
Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
The biggest risk to this production has to do with safety. One of the children we will be filming, Nicole, lives in a dangerous area of town. It will take a lot of preparation and planning to make filming safe for everyone involved. If we find that we cannot safely film at Nicole's home, we will have to bring her to Shalom and film her talking about her home while showing B-roll footage.
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