Five years in the making, this film was born from an insatiable curiosity about Charity Hospital – an iconic and beautiful, yet somehow abandoned building in downtown New Orleans. Former Charity staff and community members served as a constant resource during the making of this film, opening their lives up to us, our questions and our cameras, to share what we'd never know in our own – the real meaning of Charity Hospital. In addition to conducting dozens of interviews and shooting hundreds of hours of original footage, we collected a huge amount of rare, archival footage from numerous sources ranging from medical university libraries to The Discovery Channel.
ABOUT THE FILM
Charity Hospital began in 1736 as just a small cottage built for indigent care on the goodwill of a dying French merchant. Operated by nuns of The Daughters of Charity and serving the city of New Orleans for close to 300 years, it gradually transformed into an enormous public institution – into Big Charity – and a longstanding symbol of compassion, a seemingly eternal place of safety and a beacon of hope in the community. Today the towering art deco building, closed abruptly after Hurricane Katrina hit in August 2005, stands empty, and the community continues to suffer the devastating consequences of its absence.
This documentary film includes never-before-seen footage and exclusive interviews to tell the story of Charity Hospital, from its roots to its controversial closing in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. From the firsthand accounts of healthcare providers and hospital employees who miraculously withstood the storm inside the hospital, to interviews with key players involved in the closing of Charity and the opening of New Orleans’ newest hospital, "Big Charity" shares the untold, true story around its closure and sheds new light on the sacrifices made for the sake of progress.
WHY WE NEED HELP
"Big Charity" is almost finished! There's just a handful of final production costs that must be paid before it can be released – but they're very expensive. Before it hits the big screen, we must raise enough funds to cover the following:
- Licensing content: the cost to use copyrighted archival images and footage from sources like CNN, The Learning Channel, NYTV, and The Times-Picayune – material that's truly integral to Charity's story.
- Post-production Editing: the cost of supplemental color correction, and sound mixing and mastering to maximize its production value and to make it the best viewing experience possible.
“Big Charity” was produced by a small, tight-knit team of three emerging filmmakers from disparate backgrounds. A muralist, a musician, and a writer, they came from D.C., Georgia, and North Carolina, and converged in New Orleans with a shared passion for storytelling. The project's inception came while Alex was working as director of the Boys & Girls Club in the Iberville, New Orleans' largest housing development, where he became enamored with the abandoned, massive building down the street, and its special, ongoing significance to the community there. Wanting to understand what Charity meant to the city they had each adopted as their own, they sought to get to know Charity through others’ stories. This is their first feature-length documentary.
Risks and challenges
We have always felt that this film should be seen across the world. Our biggest worry is that, without proper funding and exposure, it won't reach audiences outside of the state of Louisiana.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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