Funded! This project was successfully funded on February 5, 2013.

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They have the courage to fight war with peace...and cardboard wings. Let their voices be louder than the violence that surrounds them.

Hector "Teto" Murguia is the only mayor in the history of Mexico to serve two non-consecutive terms. First during 2004-2007 and currently from 2010-present. He has survived many threats on his life and assassination attempts, but still returns to his post.

He discusses many things in his interview, but here you can view a quick preview of what he thinks of our young angels. Which according to him, "breaks his heart" to see these kids rising above with such fortitude...enjoy!

Ciudad Juarez

Juarez, Mexico has been known as the murder capitol of the world for the last several years. During that time sources estimated that a violent murder occurred every 30 minutes in Juarez every single day. At the beginning of this year the mayor was forced to evacuate 2,500 police officers from their homes and put them up in hotels under 24-hour police protection. This was prompted by the drug cartels threat to murder one police office every day demanding the new police chief to resign. A threat they carried out as promised for nearly a week until the officers were removed.

In an environment like this children typically have few choices. Most only have the option to live in fear, waiting for their turn to be slaughtered. But the children of a small church down a dirt road have chosen another path. A remarkable one. They have chosen to fight these murderers--not with more guns or more blood--but with messages of peace...and cardboard wings. 

Angels in Mexico

These children have come together with nothing, but strength and courage in their hearts. And a belief; a faith that things can be better. That they can make a difference in their community. They don't have much, so they convinced city officials to donate old curtains to become their robes. And they collected cardboard, plastic and feathers (often from garbage bins) to create their wings. They cover themselves in oil based paint which takes three days to be removed completely from their skin and hair. They then stand on folded chairs (to add height) and hold signs aimed at the criminals and corrupt police officers. They can be seen at crime scenes and heavy intersections, outside of prosecutor's offices and police stations. And they stand there in silence for hours. Children with the fortitude to stand in one spot, motionless for hours, solely because they want more for their community; more for their people.

The Project

A documentary, delving into the lives of these Angels. What makes them tick? Part of which will be following them at the end of January to a city 10 hours south that is once again riddled with violence. There they will bring their message even further than their community. With a crew of four I will be documenting their courage. 

A little snippet about the crew:

Katie Orlinsky: Cinematographer. Critically acclaimed photojournalist. (www.katieorlinsky.com)

Joey Daoud: Co-Producer and 2nd Shooter. Documentary filmmaker and photographer. Creator of Coffee and Celluloid Productions. @C47 (www.cc-prod.com)

Dylan Correll: Renowned New York based editor. Most recently known for editing feature film, "Not Waving, But Drowning."

John Ross: Composer. Professional musician and composer. Creator of well known bands such as Gettysburg and most recently, the Challengers. (www.challengersforever.com)

Jessica LaRusso: (myself)Director and Producer. Filmmaker. Co-creator of Venture Machine Productions. @justncases

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/10/world/americas/angels-in-ciudad-juarez-try-to-reduce-violence.html?_r=0
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/10/world/americas/angels-in-ciudad-juarez-try-to-reduce-violence.html?_r=0

Last January while researching Mexico for another project I stumbled upon Katie's image above. When I opened the NY Times article, it changed my life. For a year that picture was the background of my computer desktop and their story stayed in the back of my mind. Nearly one year later, I decided to do something about it.

What the Money is For

Now to the nitty-gritty of it. Where is the money going? As many of you know (and the rest of you are about to find out), making movies costs money! This includes equipment costs (camera, microphones, lenses, etc.), all requiring additional insurance. Then there's the obvious necessities such as food, gas, hotels, and flights for the whole crew. Then additionally for the 500 mile travel from Juarez to Durango. And when that's all said and done comes post production. So there's editing, sound design, festival fees, and so on. Because it's not enough to just film it, we have to get it out there for everyone to see! The current budget allows for a 30 minute cut to be aired on television for all to see. But any amount over the goal allows for a prolonged production with additional trips. And with enough support we could turn this into a full length feature to be played in theaters around the world!

I believe it is time someone gives these children an audience larger (and more worthy) than their blood thirsty rivals. It's easy to talk about glorified criminals, which are a dime a dozen. But in this day and age, a group like this comes few and far between. These cartels think their money and guns give them power, but it pales in comparison to the strength of character these angels possess. So let's let both parties know it.

Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

Filmmaking is like any other task or profession. There are potential obstacles that can arise at any point in the process. People get sick. Shipments are delivered late. Anything can happen. But anyone in the film industry will tell you that those risks are built into your schedule. Your only option is to be prepared for them at every corner. One of the reasons I feel very fortunate to work with the crew members I have is their years of experience in the field. If they haven't dealt with the conflict specifically before, they have the capacity to think on their feet and find a solution, regardless. And thus a slogan may have been born?

*Have no fear, we've been doing this for years!*

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