2009 FILManthropy Festival
“Open Your Eyes” Program


Saturday, September 19, 2009
Feature Film #2 @ 1:00 PM
The Garden
Shorts Film Program #2 @ 2:45 PM
The Veiled Commodity
Changing the Truth
Feature Film #3 @ 4:00 PM
Downloadable 2009 FILManthropy Program


Changing the Truth
changing the truth
Directed by Lynne Melcher (30m, USA, 2009)

SYNOPSIS: In Uganda, there are over 2.2 million orphaned children. Many have lost their entire families due to HIV/ AIDS and to the war in the North. Though we can’t change their past, we can change their future.

The documentary Changing the Truth focuses on an orphanage where 180 of these children now live. You will hear some of their personal stories, both heartbreaking and uplifting. And you will see how a group of American volunteers, through the organization Change the Truth, brings assistance, love and friendship to these beautiful and determined young children.

You will see the impact of a pair of eye glasses; the pride created from a new coat of paint and new bedding; how planting a sustainable garden can feed their bellies and their souls; and how new musical instruments can bring great joy for both the giver and the receiver.

In Uganda, as in this documentary, there is joy and there is sorrow. Ultimately, you will see the resiliency of these children, and that there is indeed hope for their future.

CHARITY: Change The Truth (www.changethetruth.org) - A civil war and HIV/AIDS have devastated entire families with broad, sweeping strokes in Uganda, East Africa. Approximately 2.2 million children have lost one or both parents to these horrors. Often they are left to fend for themselves and end up living in the streets. Sometimes they are taken in by aunts, often by grandmothers and in many cases by an orphanage or boarding school.

Change the Truth, founded by Gloria Baker Feinsten, is a not for profit organization dedicated to improving the lives of children in Uganda, in particular those at St. Mary Kevin Orphanage Motherhood in the small town of Kajjansi. www.changethetruth.org.

A Drop in the Bucket
A Drop in the Bucket
Directed by Lauren Shaw (23m, Cambodia, 2009)

SYNOPSIS:  This film is about providing safe water for the people of Cambodia, who lost everything to mass genocide; their cultures, their doctors, lawyers, schools, religion, and most importantly their way of life. Over the last two years, I have built fifteen wells with the help of SamBrothers.org and Journeys Within Our Community. I returned in 2009 to see the effects my wells have had on the lives of the people. By telling this story, some of the complexities and challenges involved in philanthropy are revealed. The interviews with Journeys within our Community, Resource Development International, the Doctors at Angkor Children’s Hospital, and the Cambodian people all share the issues of hygiene education, water testing, ownership, and ultimately the delivery of safe water. I hope to illuminate and inspire a broad audience about the possibility, challenges and promise that I found in Cambodia – and to make a small step towards a better tomorrow.

CHARITY: Journeys Within Our Community (JWOC) (www.journeyswithinourcommunity.org) – JWOC was founded under the ideal of ‘See a Problem, Solve a Problem’ and for the last five years it has done just that. A non-profit organization incorporated in California, United States JWOC operates as a public charity in Southeast Asia. JWOC supports and manages a variety of projects promoting improved living conditions for people in Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar. We work to promote economic and educational opportunities as well as improve health conditions. 

Winner of the Sundance Film Festival Best Documentary Audience Award
Directed by Josh Tickell (112m, USA, 2008)

SYNOPSIS:  FUEL is an insightful portrait of America’s addiction to oil and an uplifting testament to the immediacy of new energy solutions. Director, Josh Tickell, a young activist, shuttles us on a whirlwind journey to track the rising domination of the petrochemical industry — from Rockefeller’s strategy to halt Ford’s first ethanol cars to Vice President Cheney’s petrochemical company sponsored energy legislation — and reveals a gamut of available solutions to ‘repower America’ — from vertical farms that occupy skyscrapers to algae facilities that turn wastewater into fuel. Tickell and a surprising array of environmentalists, policy makers, and entertainment notables take us through America’s complicated, often ignominious energy past and illuminate a hopeful, achievable future, where decentralized, sustainable living is not only possible, it’s imperative.

CHARITY: Veggie Van Organization (www.veggievan.org) - The Veggie Van organization was established to facilitate the transition from fossil fuel use toward a new green economy by educating people about sustainable energy and providing them with appropriate pathways for integrating sustainable energy into homes, schools, communities, cities, states and ultimately nations.

The Veggie Van was founded by Environmentalists, Activists, Director and Producer – Josh Tickell & Rebecca Harrell. The Veggie Van’s initiatives value and affirm the human spirit and innovation. Highlighting excellence in leading edge potential, philosophies and technology. Its programs and scholarships are aimed to stimulate a universal syllabus of sustainability, to evoke responsible self-leadership and to challenge humanity to make a conscious impact in the world.

The goal for 2009 is to create a green curriculum that is nationally accredited for K-12 and to make available, free of charge, a 35 minute educational version of ‘FUEL’ to every school in the United States.

Our objective is global impact of information integration on sustainability and renewable energies through education and interactive learning styles.

The Garden
The Garden
Academy Award Nominee Best Documentary Feature

Directed by Scott Hamilton Kennedy (80m, USA, 2008)

SYNOPSIS:  December, 2003. The fourteen acre community garden at 41st and Alameda Ave. in South Central Los Angeles is the largest of its kind in the United States. It was started as a form of healing after the devastating L.A. riots in 1992. Since that time, the South Central Farmers have created a miracle in one of the country’s most blighted neighborhoods. Growing their own food. Feeding their families. Creating a community. But, in December 2003, bulldozers are poised to level their 14 acre oasis.

We have followed the story from the tilled soil of this urban farm to the polished marble of City Hall. And while the farmers’ hard work have won them lip service from people like Antonio Villaraigosa – “It is something special, and I don’t think there is another property like it anywhere in the nation.” – the city keeps giving them the same response: “The garden is wonderful, but there is nothing more we can do.”

If everyone told you nothing more could be done, would you give up?

The farmers don’t give up, and over the next two and a half years they battle for their rights in the courts, and hearts and minds of Los Angeles and beyond.

The Garden is the story of the country’s largest urban farm, backroom deals, land developers, green politics, money, poverty and power. TyL explores the fault lines in American Society, and raise questions about liberty, equality and justice for the poorest and most vulnerable among us.

CHARITY:  www.southcentralfarmers.com


Directed by Reginald Schickel (28m, USA, 2009)

SYNOPSIS: This documentary follows some of Rwanda’s Street Children as the explain from their own voices the hardships of life on the street. In 1994, nearly one million Tutsi and moderate Hutu men women and children were executed in the state sponsored massacre known as the Rwandan Genocide.

As the country makes strides towards peace and development, some of its children are being forgotten. There are over 7,000 street children who live in the small country of Rwanda. These street kids face hunger, illness, psychological problems, and vicious abuse.

This film aims to understand their lives, both the good aspects as well as the bad, and provide an eye opening window into the lives of these invisible children. The perspective is an important aspect of this film, as it is given purely from the voices of the street children, with minimal commentary.

CHARITY: Street Kids of Rwanda (www.streetkidsofrwanda.org) - Welcome to Street Kids of Rwanda. We are a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting the welfare of Rwandan street children by providing housing, food, and education. Our aim is to enable these disadvantaged children to grow into self-sufficient adults who can help others by becoming leaders and productive members of their communities.

The 1994 Genocide, which brutally claimed the lives of more than 800,000 people, left behind thousands of orphans. In addition, AIDS and poverty continue to force many children onto the streets. These vulnerable children live on food from garbage cans and the occasional generosity of passersby, and are often malnourished, sick, and abused.

Street Kids of Rwanda began in 2002 when Antoine BIZIMANA, a mechanic and former street kid, began offering care to street children in the capital city of Kigali. Antoine and his team of volunteers have taken more than 300 children off of the streets and given them a safe place to live, food, and schooling. While Street Kids of Rwanda has improved the lives of many children, their resources are limited and the children have many needs.

In 2006, Street Kids of Rwanda was officially incorporated as a non-government organization in Rwanda and has been working to provide money and support to ensure a safe and healthy life for hundreds of children. With your help, Street Kids of Rwanda can continue to improve the lives of many children.

More than Skin Deep: Skin Cancer in America
More than Skin Deep
Directed by Stan Kozma (57m, USA, 2008)

SYNOPSIS: This year there will be more cases of skin cancer diagnosed in the United States than all other cancers combined.

Every hour one person is taken by melanoma - the most dangerous form of skin cancer. More Than Skin Deep is the informative, engaging and emotional story of skin cancer in America as told by patients, families, doctors, researchers, nurses, advocates and educators.

The premise of the film is that skin cancer is a complex medical and social issue that is both biological and behavioral. To that end, the film examines the patient, treatment and research aspects of the disease as well as its cultural, historical and social facets.

Using sparse narration, the film primarily relies on testimony, interview, historical re-enactment, medical animations and innovative visuals.

CHARITY: The Spirit of Kristi (www.kristi.cc) - Kristi Michael had a young child to care for and a busy career as a film and video make-up artist, when her life took a stark new direction. At 30, she was diagnosed with melanoma. The next four years brought many surgeries and difficult treatments, but her spirit was not diminished. Kristi vowed that upon her return to health, she would dedicate herself to these goals:
To promote skin cancer awareness.

To assist families of patients undergoing clinical trial treatment.
To produce quality films of artistic and social merit.

“Life is precious. Fight hard. Never give up” was Kristi’s legacy.

The Spirit of Kristi is dedicated to the goals and legacy of Kristi Michael

The Ordinary Heroes of Afghanistan
The Ordinary Heroes of Afghanistan
Directed by Ellen Fish (21m, India, 2006)

SYNOPSIS:  Barefoot solar engineers bring light to remote, poor villages all over the world.

This short film documents the remarkable story of 10 Afghan men and women who travel to the Barefoot College of Tilonia in India to become “Barefoot” Solar Engineers.

Operating with the conviction that “experts” don't have all the answers and that technology can be demystified, The Barefoot College applies entrepreneurial creativity to the most complex development problems, yielding extraordinary results. The Barefoot College has already trained semi-literate “Barefoot” professionals to solar electrify over 200 remote communities across India and is now training Barefoot Solar Engineers in 16 developing countries around the world, including Afghanistan.

As documented in The Ordinary Heroes of Afghanistan, The Barefoot College organized five remote Afghani villages to select 10 representatives to become Barefoot Solar Engineers, brought them to India for six months of training, and purchased and transported solar panels to solar electrify the villages for five years, all for less than the cost of hiring one UN or World Bank Consultant in Kabul for one year.

CHARITY:  Friends of Tilonia, Inc. (www.tilonia.com) – Friends of Tilonia is a 501(c)3 tax-exempt non-profit working to help support the income-generation programs of the Barefoot College and its affiliates in India.  We accept contributions on behalf of the Barefoot College (www.barefootcollege.org) for their sustainable development programs in helping communities to address basic needs for energy, water, health, education and employment. 

Tilonia, a small village in Rajasthan, India, is home of the Barefoot College. Since 1972, the College has worked to improve the lives of the poorest of the poor who make less than $1 a day.

The Barefoot College trains the poorest of the poor to become “Barefoot” professionals who develop their own communities. These semi-literate women and men from poor rural communities become Barefoot solar engineers, water engineers, architects, teachers, midwives and paramedics creating their own solutions to meet basic needs for water, electricity, housing, health, education and income.


Directed by Matthew B. Bowler (29m, USA, 2008)

SYNOPSIS:  Teresa Nguyen thinks about the same things most girls do in high school:  independence, boys, college, prom, but she is anything but your average teen. Teresa has a moderate form of Osteogensis Imperfecta (OI), a disease that causes brittle bones. However, this debilitating disease does not define her. In this half hour documentary, Teresa’s story will inspire and challenge you to view life from a completely new perspective.

CHARITY: Osteogenesis Imperfecta Foundation (www.oif.org) – Since 1970, the OI Foundation has doubled funding for research every five years, for a total investment of almost $3 million. Funding is available for postdoctoral fellowships to encourage new investigators to begin a career in OI research, and seed grants for preliminary research. All applications are reviewed by the Foundation’s Scientific Review Committee, which includes many preeminent OI researchers and clinicians. Funding also supports the OI Registry and the Linked Clinical Research Centers. The potential for results in OI research is growing, with recent advances in gene therapy, a new diagnostic test, and drug therapies under study.

The Foundation’s principal education event is the Biennial National Conference on OI, which provides more than 570 people with medical, research, and coping information. For many, it’s the first opportunity to meet others who are living with OI. In addition, the Foundation is continually developing new information resources in response to the needs of families, individuals, and professionals working with those affected by OI. Topics covered include schooling, pain management, psychosocial needs of the family, child abuse, fracture management, and osteoporosis.

The Foundation strives to build public awareness and generate additional support among individuals, community organizations, public agencies, and medical professionals. Up-to-date information on OI––from medical issues to daily living strategies–– is available via phone, Internet, fax, and mail. The Foundation also reaches out with print publications, press releases, DVDs, and the web site.

Improving quality of life is a continuing challenge that our small group of staff and enormous army of volunteers work constantly to achieve. From hosting 36 support and network groups in 25 states to expanding resources, hosting our online chat room or raising funds, the OI community and Foundation staff provide quality support services to more than 100,000 people each year.

The Veiled Commodity
The Veiled Commodity
Directed by Dickson Chow and Vinh Chung (6m, Canada, 2009)

SYNOPSIS:  The Veiled Commodity is a short film that deals with slavery’s past and present day issues. The film employs various design and animation techniques to tell a concise history of slavery and the problems of its present day counterpart; the trafficking and victimization of people around the world. 

CHARITY #1:  LOVE146 (www.love146.org) – VISION: The abolition of child sex slavery and exploitation. Nothing less.  MISSION: ABOLITION & RESTORATION! We combat child sex slavery & exploitation with the unexpected and restore survivors with excellence.

Love146 works toward the abolition of child sex slavery and exploitation through Prevention and Aftercare. Children are being trafficked and raped daily. Slavery is one of the darkest stories on our planet. This physical, mental and emotional trauma can leave children broken and scarred for life. Interventions for these children are critical to their survival and restoration. The hope of abolition is a reality today. This is why Love146 exists.

CHARITY #2: The Frederick Douglass Family Foundation (www.fdff.org) - As one of history’s most noted Abolitionists, Frederick Douglass dedicated himself to the cause of freedom and that of equality for every man and woman. The Frederick Douglass Family Foundation will continue the work of its prominent namesake by raising awareness of the enduring crisis of modern-day slavery wherever it may exist. Funds that are raised will go to support organizations that are working to stop modern-day slavery and those assisting its victims.

We know that slavery exists today in various forms throughout the world. It’s estimated that 27 million people live in a state of servitude. Right now there are women being forced into prostitution, children working in factories for little or no wage and men being sold or traded like cattle. We started the Frederick Douglass Family Foundation to help those people to live free.

The state-sponsored slavery Frederick Douglass sought to abolish differs only slightly from today’s black market slavery in that one was done in the light of day and the other in shadows. Because it preys upon the weakest and most marginalized members of society, today’s brand of servitude is all the more shameful. The challenge for this group is to educate a wider audience about the injustices being perpetrated against a growing number of women, children and men both internationally and here at home in some of our most affluent neighborhoods.

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Clean Water for Everyone