One of El Salvador's Disappeared tells his story

by Nelson de Witt

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About

Thank you so much for taking the time to review our project page. 

Please be aware that this page is a first draft and we are more interested in your overall impressions, then spelling and grammar mistakes. While spelling and grammar are important, this page could change a lot before our May launch.

What we want to know is: 

  • What do you like or dislike about this page? 
  • Is anything unclear or confusing? 
  • What is your emotional reaction to this page?

Below is a list of known issues. You do not need to comment on these issues unless you have some specific feedback that you feel would be helpful.

  • Jump in video when talking about Kickstarter
  • John’s part(s) in video
  • John’s Bio in “Who are we?” section
  • Blurbs in “What People are Saying” section
  • Outline of how money is being used in “Why Kickstarter Section”
  • Reward: Academic License, pricing and explanation
  • Reward: iTunes/Netflix, pricing and explanation
  • Reward: Home Cooked Dinner, pricing and explanation

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In 1997, Nelson de Witt, a 16-year-old adoptee from Boston, Massachusetts, discovered that he had been identified as one Roberto Coto Escobar. In 1982, as a one-year old, he had been lost to his birth family during El Salvador’s bloody war. Several searching organizations provided newspaper articles that provided evidence of the link. They told of a deadly government raid in Honduras that resulted in the disappearance of a dozen Salvadoran revolutionaries, including his biological mother, Ana Milagro. DNA testing confirmed the identification.

Entitled, “Identifying Nelson/Buscando a Roberto,” this dual language documentary is structured around a trip that Nelson/Roberto and John Younger took to El Salvador in March 2011 for the “Day of the Disappeared,” finally acknowledged by the government. During that visit, he--along with other reunited children--attended a breakfast at the presidential palace. 

At that historic occasion and later at a commemorative event attended by thousands of schoolchildren, the then president, Mauricio Funes, made a formal apology for these forced disappearances. They visited both urban and rural areas, and Nelson/Roberto interviewed members of his own family, others like himself who have been reunited, as well as many who continue to search for missing loved ones. 

 In the final scene of the film, Nelson/Roberto goes with an aunt and cousin to the The Monument of Truth and Memory/ Monumento a la Memoria y la Verdad in downtown San Salvador where he finds his birth mother’s name, engraved among those of 30,000 of the more than 70,000 who died or disappeared during the civil war. His name also appears on the much shorter list of those few who have reappeared.

By backing this project you will be helping us finish our film, so that we can share it with you by the fall of 2015, and tell the stories of Salvadoran families still searching for loved ones.

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Who are we?

Nelson/Roberto is a photographer based out of the Boston area, as well as the subject of the film. John Younger is a TV/Film producer who has work on such projects as...

Our journey began in 1990 when John was Nelson’s first counselor at a YMCA summer camp in western Massachusetts.

After reconnecting on Facebook in 2008, John began reading Nelson’s blog, Ana’s Miracle, to find out why Nelson now referred to himself as “Nelson/Roberto.” Drawn in by Nelson’s passion to share his family’s story, they began working together after John offered to share his background as a TV/Film producer.

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What people are saying

Since filming in 2011, John and I have been previewing segments of the film at a variety of venues including the Human Rights Program of the University of Chicago, a Misfit Conference in Fargo, North Dakota, Wells College in Aurora, New York, and even at Camp Frank A. Day, in North Brookfield, Massachusetts, where John and I first met. 

Blurbs coming soon...

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Why Kickstarter?

John and I are doing this Kickstarter campaign to raise a minimum of$10,000, in order to complete the film by the fall of 2015. The money will go to…

  • Finishing work

  • Color correction

We are not big fans of stretch goals, but should the campaign exceed our funding goal this is how we will use the extra money.

- More post production work. Movies are expensive to produce so any edition fund would go to making the film better. $10,000 is really the minimum we would need to make this project viable.

- Thanking the crew. So far a lot of people have donated their time, skills and energy to making this film possible. While we may not be able to pay them like a major studio it would be nice to thank then in some way.

- Funding the podcast. Every other week John and I release a podcast that covers topics related to the film in greator detail. It has become a great platform to edcuate people about the issues surrounding the film, and a way to give voice to other people who want share thier story.

- Taking our significant others out to dinner. For John and I this project has been a labor of love. Even if we don't make a dime form the project it would be nice to thank our signifiant others our to dinner for putting up with our craziness.

- Helping more families reconnect. In the event that this project exeeds our wildest dreams, John and I would like find some way to help families who are still searching for loved ones. This could be paying for a DNA test or something else. We aren't exactly sure this how would work, at the moment we feel it is more important to actually complete the film.

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Rewards

Besides being able to rent the film for a $1, we have put together some other wonderful rewards for you. 

We created a photo book from the still photographs that John and I took while we were filming in El Salvador. We also have a signed canvas print of the film's signature image of the wall of memory in San Salvador, with the names of the dead and disappeared and of the few reunited ones like myself carved onto its surface.

Here is detailed breakdown of all the rewards.

Movie Rental ($1)

Once our film is completed we will upload it to YouTube or Vimeo and send you the link. The video will remain up for a whole month so you can watch it as much as you like. After the month we will remove the link.

Digital Download ($10)

Not only do you get the online movie rental, which can be sent to a friend, but you get a full 1080p Download of the our film, a desktop wallaper, a PDF version of the photobook, and the directors commentary. 

Directors Commentary Webinar ($25)

Join John and Nelson for a live webinar where they will record the directors commentary for the film. They will talk about what it was like to create the film and answer questions from the audience. 

The Photo Book

The photographs in this book were taken by Nelson and John during their 10 day trip to El Salvador in March of 2011. They represent some of the more personal and off-camera moments that took place during their visit.

 Even though many of the photographs appear in the film, we believe that you can only truly appreciatetheir subtleties by looking at them in print. You will not find a lot of captions or commentary in this book. Instead we have left it up to you to explore their deeper meaning.

The Canvas Print

This photograph was taken by Nelson/Roberto at the end of the 2011 trip to El Salvador. Nelson and his family were visiting the *Monument to Memory and Truth* where Nelson/Roberto's name is engraved along with the name of his birth mother who disparaged in 1982.

The print is 24x16 with a one inch wrap around border and will be signed by Nelson/Roberto.

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Thank you

Ever since I was 16 and learned of my family's incredible story, I always knew that one day I would be here, sharing it. I intuited then, and know now that I have a chance to be the voice that my birth parents never had. although they struggled by means of their revolutionary activities to make a difference for their country.

This is the biggest project John and I have ever taken on. It means everything to us and we have put everything we have into it. We hope you will back this project and help us get this story out to a much wider audience.

Sincerely,
Nelson/Roberto

Risks and challenges

Since we have most the of the film worked out the biggest challenge is how long it will take actually finish the film and fulfill all of the rewards. From doing Kickstarter before John and I know that things can take longer than expected. We expect the film to be done by the fall and the rewards to be shipped soon after.

Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

Questions about this project? Check out the FAQ

Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $1 or more About $1.00

    ONE MONTH MOVIE RENTAL

    You read that right, you will get a link to the film where you can watch it as much as you want for a whole month.

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    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    FULL DIGITAL PACK

    Movie rental (For a friend) PLUS... an HD digital download, a desktop wallpaper, digital photo book, and the directors commentary.

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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    DIRECTORS COMMENTARY WEBINAR

    Everything above PLUS... access to a live webinar where John and I will be recording the director's commentary!

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    Pledge $60 or more About $60

    THE PHOTO BOOK (Early Bird)

    Everything above PLUS... a limited edition photo book signed by John or Nelson.

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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    THE PHOTO BOOK

    Everything above PLUS... physical copy of the photo book.

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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge $150 or more About $150

    VIDEO CALL

    Everything above PLUS... a one hour video call with John & Nelson. Screen the film with your friends and then hold a live Q&A us!

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    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    THE CANVAS PRINT

    An original 24x16 canvas print of the film's signature image. The photograph was taken in El Salvador by Nelson/Roberto and will be signed by him.

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  8. Select this reward

    Pledge $320 or more About $320

    ACCEDMEIC LIECENCE

    You get a digital download of the move as well as a physical DVD to be used in an academic setting.

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  9. Select this reward

    Pledge $1,500 or more About $1,500

    GET US ON TO iTUNES & NETFLIX
    When you back at this level we will use all of the money to get us into the iTunes and Netflix stores.

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    Pledge $2,000 or more About $2,000

    HOME COOKED DINNER

    Not only will we hold a private showing for you and you're friends but Nelson will cook dinner.

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