56 Days $56 Dollars

Anyone reading my posts can tell that 56 Days $56 Dollars has nothing to do with me.

The title refers to young filmmakers and change-makers, Zach Ingrasci, Chris Temple and Sean Leonard.

During university, they were curious how 1.1 billion people manage to live on $1 a day.  They decided to explore extreme poverty by going to Pena Blanca, Guatemala and living on $1 a day for 56 days.  They filmed their experiences and uploaded them to YouTube.

Watching the young men learn to grow radishes, manage a tiny, volatile budget and waking up covered in flea bites was only part of the story.  The rest was about the friends they made in Pena Blanca who taught them how to add fat to their diet, take out a microloan and bargain in the market.

When they returned home, 700,000 YouTube hits convinced them they had something worthwhile to share.  Their experiences became Living on One, a full-length documentary.  The film and the post-production tours are a great demonstration of how a small group of people can absolutely make a huge impact and help improve the lives of others.

Inspiring, not only because of their willingness to give up their American lives and literally walk 1,000 miles in the shoes of another, Living on One shows us how Gen Ys combine their passions, idealism and social media in new and constructive ways.  It is a lesson for those of us who ask our kids, “Do you watch anything useful on YouTube?

It is not enough to simply watch the film.  You must click through to see their social impact campaign and what has grown out of their efforts.

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Girls, Dogs and Gratitude

give a girl a break film video Jenny Laura dog training school mentor

Last night, during dinner with my writer-friend, I raised the issue about which medium tells a better story – writing or video.

A reader since childhood and now a writer, I cannot imagine life without printed words.  My kids’ generation, the Millennial generation, don’t know an Internet-less world.

We live in a country where public libraries do not exist and books cost more than most people’s daily salary.  YOUTUBE is free and pirated DVDs can be purchased for less than a cup of coffee.  Instagrams to family 2,000 miles away are cheaper than a phone call.  Twitter is the source for local, breaking news.

Visual and graphic communication are the future.

Inspiring stories about young women who overcome emotional and financial barriers to creatively express themselves are the topic for the GIVE A GIRL A BREAK contest.

Through video, three, young females filmmakers offer their stories both as an artistic expression of themselves as well as highlighting how a small bit of support helps other reach for their dreams.  Created in Los Angeles, these girls had access to lights, cameras, computers, actors and great locations to create their short-films.

On the other side of the planet, a smaller exhibit highlighting women and communication took place.

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Graphic communication was the focus of the EIGHT DEGREES OF DIFFERENCE exhibit in Bahrain.

Eight, Bahraini women presented their graphic design, video and digital photography projects.  They focused on life-affirming topics such as gratitude, family communications, healthy eating, and imagination and on clear communications through maps, typography, signage and even graffiti.

Milling with the audience composed of Bahrainis, Pakistanis, Africans, and Europeans, it became obvious to me that the women’s messages transcended culture.  Whether one spoke English or Arabic, the visual exhibits spoke a language everyone could understand.

ABOUT GIVE A GIRL A BREAK

team alana matching making skills

My best friend Jenny is featured as the inspiring mentor to Laura, a young woman in this film TO THE RESCUE.  Watch TO THE RESCUE and the other two finalists and vote by JULY 2nd.

Always is sponsoring Give a Girl a Break.  Three aspiring female filmmakers are vying for a Talent Grant to help them pursue a career in film.

ABOUT EIGHT DEGREES OF DIFFERENCE

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June 26-27, eight, female students at the Bahrain Polytechnic Institute displayed their third year projects.  The depth and quality of their work was evident.  I was so pleased to see how Bahraini women envision effectively engaging others using modern methods.

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