Shriver Center

ProducerJames Gustin + Megan TaylorWriter + Director + Cinematographer + EditorMelissa Fox

#carryitforward

Raise our voices to end poverty 

Overview

This is our second year working with the Shriver Center to create a film for their annual fundraiser. Our challenge to represent all the facets that the advocates at the Shriver Center serve. 

  • Building the capacity of the nation's equal justice providers
  • Ensuring a safety net for poor families
  • Improving access to health care
  • Helping homeowners to avoid foreclosure
  • Protecting victims of domestic violence

We needed to give a current state of why these issues are still relevant while celebrating the hard work of the past. 

Process

Our team pitched the idea of a spoken word piece. Through the Shriver Center we were able to work with the Young Chicago Authors group to commission a poet, Jasmine Barber. Our team then worked with Jasmine to bring the mission of the center to life through her passionate lens. In our studio our director, Melissa Fox, worked with Jasmine to get a powerful read on film. Next we filmed our advocates. Under a tight timeline we stayed flexible and open to all available opportunities. The advocates spend time commuting to and from Springfield working on cases. This made scheduling challenging. In the end we decided on a single location within the city that could give us the most variety of backdrops. Lastly, we felt it important to call back to the roots of Sargent Shriver himself. In our edit we included archival footage that the center had collected over time. To cap it all off we were graciously granted the rights to use "You Are Not Alone," performed by Mavis Staples and Jeff Tweedy. Our team did a happy dance when all the elements came together perfectly. 

Results

This film played at the annual fundraising event #carryitforward where Mavis Staples and Jeff Tweedy performed its main theme. It was received by a captive audience that nodded in agreement and wiped away tears as the film rolled. Afterwards Chris Kennedy thanked Jasmine for her powerful words and the audience erupted into generous applause. We are excited to share this film with our community and hope it inspires more people to #carryitforward. 

You knocked it out of the park! You did so much with so little. People were really moved. I can not tell you how many people came up to us after it screened saying how much it had an impact on them. It connected them to that space inside that called to our mission, our history and why our work is so important. Tremendous job! We are so pleased. Thank you.
— Venu Gupta, Director of Development - Sargent Shriver Center

Last Woman Standing 

This film is very close to our hearts. Not only is it for an amazing organization we truly believe in but we fought hard to tell this story.

We spent two months selecting our subject from a list that our client provided us. We selected Mrs. Hayes as our first choice but circumstances of her case lead our client to back out on this choice. After reviewing all our options our team felt strongly that Mrs. Hayes’ story was still the best choice. Our team then went back and re-wrote an entire script to accommodate for the challenges our clients faced in telling her story. We called it: Last Woman Standing. After lot’s of back and forth we got the green light to move forward.

Inspired by Tonya’s courage we watched famous speeches given during the civil rights movements and decided that we wanted Tonya to give a version of her own. Our team coached Tonya to talk about what was important to her without revealing the details of her case. We realized that in the end, they didn’t matter. What mattered was empowering a woman to stand up for her community. Tonya blew us away with her vulnerability and passion. 

The night of the event our clients honored many leaders, including Juanita Abernathy. Mrs. Hayes was celebrated among their team of human rights lawyers as the next wave of the movement. After the film screened the entire room stood to their feet to honor Mrs. Hayes when it was announced that her and her team at the Shriver Center had won their case! They found out the night before the event. We knew that Mrs. Hayes was the right choice for the story because she inspired us greatly and was honored to tell her story.

www.povertylaw.org

Client Testimonial
"Thanks so much for all of your efforts in producing such good work on a shoe string budget and putting your hearts into it. I could tell at our first meeting that you “got it” and were excited about being able to tell the story. Not just anybody would do that. Next year when we will be able to get things started earlier, it will be even better! I’m looking forward to it." 
                           
– Stephanie Bellus Frey, Event and Sponsorship Coordinator