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Who Are We?
The Filmanthropy Project was started by the filmmakers behind the production of The End Of Poverty the feature length documentary that examines the root causes of poverty in the world (to be released in 2009.)
After traveling the world filming poverty in its worst conditions - from the barrios of Caracas (Venezuela) to the altiplanos of Bolivia, from the favelas in Sao Paulo (Brazil) to the slums in Nairobi (Kenya) and Arusha (Tanzania) - they decided that making a movie wasn't enough.
Even if movies can make a difference – the idea behind their production/distribution company Cinema Libre Studio – movies will not make a difference to a starving child or someone dying from Aids.
"While making movies around the world - both features and documentaries - that in their way denounced the plight of the disenfranchised, I was always disturbed that we took more than we gave back. On the one hand, it is crucial that we share the stories of the most vulnerable with the world, but in truth, it doesn't do anything for them on a short-term basis. They entrust us with their stories; they open their homes and their lives to us with the hope that it will bring them relief and aid. Unfortunately, even if we want to be optimistic and believe that the movie, once released, will bring some form of change, they'll probably be dead by the time any changes can be implemented in their slum/barrio/village. I felt that it was time to help on a short-term basis. Filmmakers cannot only take - they have to give back."
Philippe Diaz, founder of Cinema Libre Studio and director of "Access Denied"
"I’d seen a lot of poverty but by the time we got to Kibera (in Kenya) I was pole axed. Kibera is the largest slum in East Africa – over 1 million people live in this teeming mass of humanity without any public services like garbage, sewage or water. The HIV rates are soaring; depending on the source, anywhere between 20 – 70% of people test positive. For the people living in Kibera, especially the HIV+ folks, there are no jobs. Even if there were jobs, they wouldn't get them because they are required to test for HIV when they apply. And due to their HIV+ status, they are unable to get loans from any of the existing micro credit organizations because they are seen as a bad risk I realized while standing on the railroad tracks that overlook a deep valley filled with tin roofed shacks that if I were born into those circumstances, even with all my American can-do-ism, I couldn't get out. I had to do something to help."
Beth Portello, Coordinator, The Filmanthropy Project and producer of "Access Denied"
One of the reasons that situations like Kibera exist, is because so few people know about its reality. NGO (non governmental agencies) do their best but are limited within the organizational priorities and fundraising issues they face. Those governments and their agencies are much more interested in promoting examples of "successful development" to the West rather than its ugly sores.
Our conclusion is that so few examples or situations are documented and available for the western world to absorb. Few filmmakers or news crews adventure in such territories to inform the rest of the world. Even with the internet as a portal to the world, there are few people on the ground with the skills to maximize its capabilities nor do they have access to a high-speed internet access, money to pay for it or other tools like digital and video cameras.
Providing the tools, the training and some income generating funds would be much more important than foreigners documenting their lives for them.
That’s why The Filmanthropy Project was created: as a way to bring immediate and long term relief to the people we've met and those we will meet in the future and allow them to document their plight by themselves.
For more information and our other films... Cinema Libre Studio