Yesterday we received some amazing Super 8 footage from the missionary kids’ school we are focusing on in our documentary All God’s Children.

While we’ve had some footage and quite a few photographs of the kids and the school back in the 60s already – receiving this additional film material is a huge gift. Especially after years of having worked with our limited material, I was very moved to see people and images come to life that I had only imagined.

Then those feelings were still trumped when I received an email from the woman who had shared this footage with us. In turn she had just received a copy of our cut and she wrote to express her appreciation and gratitude for us tackling this subject and telling the painful story from her childhood.

She pointed out the quote: “No, it wasn’t o.k. then and it’s still not o.k.”
How sad that even those who weren’t abused directly themselves seem to carry scars from this time in their lives.

She was the first person to watch the film who had attended the school (besides the ones who are in the film themselves).

I was quite moved. Her reaction gave us a feeling of validation. It reminded me that Scott originally began this journey (and I later joined) because of the children whose story needed to be told.

It is for children who have suffered the neglect or abuses that we made the film. Someone needed to listen to them and record their stories.

It is for their families and friends who need to learn and understand.

It is for the Churches that need to be honest and embrace those who have suffered.

It is for the children of the present and future so this doesn’t happen to them.

I am very grateful to receive this specific feedback because sometimes you do need a reminder of why you are doing all this in the first place. Independent filmmaking is often (always?) such a long and at times difficult and even painful process. Years and years go by during which you have to sustain your focus, your energy and your faith in yourself and your work.

You do need a very good reason why you are making such a film; a reason that is bigger than the years, stronger than the rejection emails, more important than money. Something that gets you through those dark days when you think you suck and the only thing that will keep you working is the thought: yeah, maybe I’m not so great, but I’ve got to keep working on this anyway because I’m not just doing this for me, I’m doing this for ____________.

2 Replies to “Knowing Why You Do It”

  1. What an inspiring post, Luci. This touched me on several levels – as a filmmaker & novelist, a woman, a wife, and as a former child, (as we all are – it is the only human rights designation we all share is it not? – child welfare)? And yet as children we are not equipped to either protect or advocate for ourselves. This is where film in general and art in particular can be most powerful.

    And how exciting is the response from another child from Mamou, other than your subjects! How spectacular that she saw the film and expressed such gratitude? That she gave you her Super-8 footage is an astounding testament to force of the film.

    She is right. It wasn’t OK then and it’s still not OK. You validated her feelings as a survivor just as she validated yours as an artist!

    Chip and I are so happy for you!

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