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Shelter is a documentary about the design for good movement chronicling the housing relief work of architects and designers.

Shelter is a documentary about the design for good movement chronicling the housing relief work of architects and designers. Read More
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Funding Unsuccessful

This project's funding goal was not reached on May 15, 2012.

About this project

We'd like to introduce you to some people whose extraordinary courage has inspired us. We think they will inspire you, too. After you meet them, you'll know why we need to make this film.

Our production team went to Haiti last summer to follow key characters in the movie. Here's a look at the stories we want to tell in Haiti.  

This Kickstarter is about returning to finish filming these powerful stories in Haiti.

This is Fabuela. After the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, she and her family lost everything. Now they live in an amazing house made out of reclaimed rubble. So many people in Haiti - even two years later - are living in tents.  But through the work of people like Anne Maguire and others, that's changing.

Anne is CEO of the Haven Partnership, which has built homes, including Fabuela's, using reclaimed rubble. Anne has worked in Sudan, Pakistan and so many other hot spots around the world. People like her, with their incredible courage, are at the heart of Shelter. 

Shelter is also following the work of Architecture for Humanity.  Eric J. Cesal heads up AfH's work in Haiti. 

In Shelter, Eric tells the story of his awakening as an architect and how he travels the world to create structures that benefit communities, involving the local residents in the design effort every step of the way.

Our team met the inspiring Yves Francois during our last visit to Haiti. Recently, he was honored with the Haitian Entrepreneur of the Year Award. He's building schools and has helped Architecture for Humanity become established in the region. He left a thriving architecture career in New York City to go back to Haiti - then the earthquake hit and he's been building ever since. We're filming his story in Shelter. The humanitarian design movement is being driven by young architects, urban planners and students. We were honored to meet and interview Abby Kurlinkus and Brent Suski while in Haiti.

Why are we fundraising on Kickstarter? 

After our successful production trip last summer, we need to return to Haiti in the next few months (before the rainy season) to complete filming the powerful stories we found there. While in Haiti we will be doing follow up interviews and filming with the folks you met above. We're also scheduling interviews with the local Haitian team of Build Change, which is focused on educating homeowners and builders about how to build earthquake-resistant structures, also with Haiti team of the JPHRO community project, and with local historians and architects like Frederick Mangones.

How does Kickstarter work?

It's simple.  Make a donation to the film and you get a reward.  Choose the amount you'd like to donate and the gift you'd like to receive. 


That's right, even if we are $10 short of our goal, we won't get the money. The Haiti filming project only funds if we make it to the finish line. If we raise more than our target before the deadline, we get to keep the whole amount.

All funds will go directly to producing the film. Our $10,000 goal is just a portion of our total budget we'll need to be able to finish the film, anything we raise over that will go directly toward production in other parts of the world, like Thailand, Indonesia and the USA.


If you'd like to make a tax-deductible donation of $100 or more, please contact director Lee Schneider at to find out how to make your donation through the San Francisco Film Society, our fiscal sponsor.

What will happen with the footage you film in Haiti?

Shelter will become a 90-minute documentary that will be shown in schools, colleges and universities to inspire the next generation of architects, engineers and urban planners to design for good. It will have a theatrical and a television release. Along the way, we are using the footage we film to do workshops about humanitarian design and digital media at colleges and universities nationwide.  That outreach and engagement effort is called Shelter: connect.

Where else are you filming?  Who else is in the film? 

As we travel around the world to make Shelter, we meet visionaries every day. Elizabeth Hausler, founder of Build Change, is teaching homeowners and engineers in Haiti and Indonesia how to retrofit and prepare for the next disaster. Nathaniel Corum, an Architecture for Humanity fellow who, with architect Jamie Blosser, is building housing for elders on tribal lands. Tom Fisher, Dean of Architecture at the College of Design, University of Minnesota, is leading the charge to create a humanitarian design curriculum. Bryan Bell of Design Corps and SEED is shaping and defining the humanitarian design movement every day, and John Cary, of Public Interest Design, is also a defining leader. Dan Pitera is working on humanitarian design projects in Detroit. John Peterson of Public Architecture is showing architects the social and human value of pro bono design. Weeraphan Shinawatra and Sumet Jumsai are developing floating homes in Thailand to prepare for flooding.

Who else is on the team? 

Michelle Marrion is our coordinating producer in Haiti and second unit cinematographer. She lives in Haiti and has lots of experience filming there. We have an outreach program in progress to bring the film and also media workshops to students who are interested in the humanitarian design movement. Caitlin Boyle, of FIlm Sprout, is our consultant on that and Caroline Markowitz is our outreach coordinator.

Why are you making Shelter now?  

Shelter is tracking a powerful, worldwide mission in humanitarian design that is evolving every day. 

Humanitarian crises, wars, and global warming have left millions of people without shelter. Eight years after the tsunami in Indonesia destroyed 100,000 homes, the nation is still recovering. Two years after a magnitude 7.0 earthquake left 1.5 million Haitians homeless, more than a third of the population still lives in tents in emergency camps. 

Fortunately, architects, engineers, and related design professionals from around the world have mobilized and are applying their skills to reconstruction efforts by educating builders, empowering homeowners, and working directly with communities in need. It's a worldwide movement in humanitarian design, and Shelter is chronicling it. We are creating blogs, short media, videos and workshops to educate and inspire the next generation of architects.  

The centerpiece of our effort is a 90-minute documentary showing this fast-growing, global grassroots movement with deep historical roots that’s now working across the globe, led by innovative NGO's like Architecture for Humanity and Build Change.The film's mission is to show how design activists are confront the human challenges they face in their work, and how their creative design solutions are improving lives and changing the face of their professions.

Who will benefit from Shelter? 

Shelter is intended to inspire the next generation of architects, engineers and urban planners to use good design to create shelter following natural and humanitarian disasters. The perfect timing to make this film is 'now' - because economic and social changes are leaving more people without shelter than ever before, and climate change is contributing to flooding and drought.

I'm interested in your project, but I can't donate right now.  What else can I do? 

You can personally email your friends and family to encourage them to donate, or just to let them know about the project, and you can spread the word by linking to our Kickstarter campaign on YOUR Facebook profile and YOUR Twitter feed. This is a word of mouth campaign, and its success relies on people being aware of the film. One of the most important goals of crowdfunding is to find our audience for the film.

Please "Like" us on Facebook at, follow us on Twitter at @shelterthemovie, and check out our website for more news about the project. 


Just email us at



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Support this project

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $10 or more About $10 USD

    A thanks on our website, on Twitter and on Facebook. Updates on the film. Good karma all the way around.

    Estimated delivery
    1 backer
  2. Select this reward

    Pledge $25 or more About $25 USD

    Everything in Reward #1, karma included, plus a digital download of the Shelter documentary.

    Estimated delivery
    5 backers
  3. Select this reward

    Pledge $50 or more About $50 USD

    Everything in Reward #2, plus a thank you listing in the film's final credits and an invite to the premiere of the film. (Travel and lodging to premiere not included.)

    Estimated delivery
    1 backer
  4. Reward no longer available

    Pledge $75 or more About $75 USD

    Everything in Reward #3, plus an autographed copy of "Down Detour Road: An Architect in Search of Practice," by Architecture for Humanity's Eric J. Cesal.

    Estimated delivery
    Reward no longer available 2 backers
  5. Select this reward

    Pledge $100 or more About $100 USD

    A director's cut DVD, autographed by the director and producer/cinematographer, with additional materials and a customized introduction from the director, plus two passes to the premiere and a thanks in the film's credits. (Travel and lodging for premiere not included.)

    Estimated delivery
    1 backer
  6. Select this reward

    Pledge $200 or more About $200 USD

    Everything in Reward #5, plus an invite to the VIP reception before the premiere.

    Estimated delivery
    Limited 0 backers
  7. Select this reward

    Pledge $500 or more About $500 USD

    Everything in Reward #6, plus be a guest on the 'be global' podcast. You'll be interviewed by Lee Schneider and the podcast will be on iTunes and on the site.

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    Limited 0 backers
  8. Select this reward

    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000 USD

    The Shelter filmmakers help you develop your own documentary concept. We'll review your pitch, treatment or first cut. Includes initial 1 hour consult in person (if you are in San Francisco) or over Skype, and 1 follow up consult.

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    Limited 0 backers
  9. Select this reward

    Pledge $5,000 or more About $5,000 USD

    A personalized screening of Shelter as a work in progress and presentation by the director and producer/cinematographer anywhere in the world. Ideal for your group, school or company. (Director and producer/cinematographer travel and lodging extra.)

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    Limited 0 backers
  10. Select this reward

    Pledge $10,000 About $10,000 USD

    Receive an executive producer credit on the film. This is an honorary credit and you won't have creative control, but it looks good on a resume and will make you an excellent conversationalist at parties. Contact us if you would like this to be a tax-deductible contribution.

    Estimated delivery
    Limited 0 backers

Funding period

- (30 days)