We are seeking funds for a 16-week trip to Bolivia to complete production of our film, The Little Prince of the Andes. As a part of this project, we will fund two years of theater classes and performances so the children in our film will have the opportunity to share their experiences. Not only will this tell their stories to audiences around the world, it will allow the children to present their unique play in theaters around La Paz, Bolivia, giving their own community a better understanding of the youths they so often overlook.
The Little Prince of the Andes illustrates the lives of former street children as they take part in theater classes and perform a play based on the popular children’s book The Little Prince. The performance takes place not on Broadway but high in the Andes Mountains of Bolivia. The stars are not professional actors but children; children who used to live on the street, who were abused, some who used to be prostitutes, many who still battle with drug and alcohol addiction. The stories they tell are not simply fiction; they are based on the lives and experiences of the young performers themselves. Through this intimate portrayal, the viewer learns about the difficult course that the children must navigate in order to stay off the street.
Hearing the stories from the children themselves, we are able to delve into a world rarely examined.
We meet Maria, a 17-year-old mother who ran away from home when she was 12, Brahim, a witness to the abuse of his sister who was beaten himself before running away from his alcoholic family, and Cinthia, whose youngest child was taken by the state because she was raising him on the street. They have had challenging lives yet their personalities sparkle, revealing hope and inspiration in the darkest of places.
Their stories expose not only what life is like for these children but bring to light a universal problem: how do we as a society heal from pain, trauma, and addiction?
We often view ourselves as fundamentally separate from others, creating a sense of alienation and indifference. The understanding furthered by The Little Prince of the Andes will challenge this notion, linking people from different backgrounds and different cultures. This film will show us that the healing process of these children might be the very thing to help heal ourselves.
Due to lack of sufficient resources, however, the theater classes have stopped. The children who used to look forward to classes no longer have access to their only creative outlet.
Making a film is costly. We need money for equipment, transportation, airfare, housing, and to pay our phenomenal crew. The money raised from this campaign has been budgeted to go towards these necessities that come with making a documentary.
Additionally, we are raising money to fund two years of theater classes in El Alto for our children. This will allow them to rehearse and perform their play.
Tupac: Last year I went to Bolivia to make a documentary film about the children working on The Little Prince of the Andes theater project. In the process of making the film I began to see so much wisdom and power in the words of the children. I realized that they were actually teaching me profound lessons about life, changing the way I thought about the world. Through this experience I was able to discover my role in this real life story. I took a much more holistic view to my work, understanding that in order for the project to be complete, I needed to help fund the creative process through the theater program. The project now transcends a simple documentary; it brings with it the simple joys that come with the theater classes such as a an afternoon of laughter, friendship, and a trip or performance to which the children can look forward.
Rebecca: I believe that through documentary film, stories can be told and ideas can be shared, creating a community around the world. Three years ago I spent time in Bolivia, working with a group of at-risk children in the mining community of Potosí, witnessing for myself the difficulties they experience in overcoming many of the conditions into which they are born. I learned so much from them; their spark for life is contagious and I was surprised at the similarities I saw between myself and these children whose lives seem so different from my own. I am now a documentary filmmaker, working to carry this understanding to a larger audience. That is what The Little Prince of the Andes aims to do. Through theater and film we can share the lessons they have to teach, telling the human stories that bridge the gaps between people and cultures.
Shayna: As a theater-maker and teaching artist, I see this project as a profound illustration of the transformative power of theater for young people. When I first arrived in El Alto, Bolivia to help with this film, I went straight to a theater workshop with girls who had been previously working as prostitutes on the streets. Many of them had never done theater before and were hesitant to even say their name aloud or do a physical gesture. After a few more workshops and rehearsals, these girls had created a beautifully devised theater piece about their life on the street and performed it in front of an audience. The theater gave them a place to play, to imagine, and to build their own worlds. It gave their audience a space to reflect, to question, and to transform. This film allows the voices of these young people to resonate with audiences on a much larger scale. By funding this project, you are not only supporting the film, but allowing the children to participate in this creative undertaking, performing and growing through the transformative process of theater.
Our Team in Bolivia:
As core members of the La Paz theater Teatro Trono, COMPA, our theater teachers and organizers grew up doing political theater in El Alto. Twenty one years ago Ivan Nogales took a group of street children into his own home and used theater as a tool to save them from the harsh life they had been living in the streets. Since then, several generations of students and youth leaders have taken over his role and have developed a highly sophisticated approach to art therapy. They believe in the decolonization of the body which is a process of freeing ourselves from our mental constraints, traumas and negative believes through the self expression and movement found in theater. Aside from our partners at COMPA we are working with two group homes and a number of social workers and case managers. We also have a group of Bolivian advisers to help us tell our story.
You can also be a part of this team and as a matter of fact we need you. Simply by backing this project you will give the children access to theater classes, helping them share their stories with the world. This work is not contained in the Andes; it transcends to people and communities across the globe. With your help we can fund the film as well as classes and rehearsals, allowing the children to participate in a one of a kind performance, using their difficult pasts in a creative manner.
In addition to backing our project, there are many other ways you can help. Share this project with your friends and make some noise about our campaign. Send personal emails to your network, use the Kickstarter tools to share us on Facebook, Twitter and other social media. Getting the word out is a key part in making The Little Prince of the Andes a success.
This is not just a film; it is a project that will allow the children to recount their incredible stories with the world.
Please join us.
We are offering some incredible rewards for backing our project!
- Digital thank-you postcard
- A print of one of our beautiful production stills
- HD digital download of The Little Prince of the Andes
- DVD of the film
- CD soundtrack from the film consisting of Andean music and chants, world fusion beats, cumbia and reggaeton
- Custom made Little Prince of the Andes hat
- Participate in a performance or rehearsal through a Skype session with the children in Bolivia
- "Special Thanks" credit in the film
- Spend a day in the editing room with the producer and editor (or Skype in for the day)
- Host your own private screening of The Little Prince of the Andes complete with a Q&A with the producers
- Receive a special "Guardian Angel" credit in the film
- Travel to La Paz for a 5-night stay, meet the children, and see a special performance of The Little Prince of the Andes
- Fund the theater rehearsals and performance of The Little Prince of the Andes
Risks and challenges
Completion: The first challenge that comes with making a documentary is that of completing such a large undertaking. This is a big project with many components and pieces that must fit together. This takes time and effort, however we are already well on our way to reach our goal. We have begun production, gathered a team, and made solid plans for the completion of the film. We are dedicated to our project and passionate about our story. We will do all that must be done to finish the project.
Logistics and Accessibility: Perhaps the greatest challenge in this type of documentary work is gaining access and trust among the unique communities in the film. We have already established a good relationship with the theater, the group homes, and the children. We have also obtained legal permission to film. Our previous work in Bolivia has allowed us to build cohesive team of collaborators in Bolivia that have helped us surpass these accessibility issues.
Unforeseen Obstacles: Documentary filmmaking is full of surprises. Despite meticulous planning, you never know what is going to happen. This is particularly true when working overseas. We are aware that we may encounter setbacks in Bolivia and are confident that we will able to overcome these challenges.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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