This summer, Developing America will be producing a documentary in Central America that captures the thoughts and reflections of US citizens while learning about the controversial and often problematic relationship the US has with the region. Leading our filmmaking team is Jim Standridge, winner of four Emmy awards for cinematography and a seasoned international videographer. The film will also be paired with an original score by world-renowned composer Michael Kurek, whose music has been performed by several of the most prestigious orchestras worldwide and who is a tenured professor at Vanderbilt University’s Blair School of Music. Finally, in addition to the documentary, the expedition will be covered in the newest book by critically acclaimed and internationally renowned author Timothy Kurek.
This documentary and subsequent book will then be brought back to Washington, DC and the rest of the United States to share the dramatic and often heartbreaking stories of US citizens meeting the people in Central America. In this manner, we hope to bring the stories from Central America back to the people and the policymakers in the US who truly are in a position to make a dramatic difference for these people around the world whose lives are intricately bound up with our own.
This seminal project is not the end goal of Developing America but is instead just the beginning. After this summer’s project, we will be refining our model based on feedback and continuing to help bring stories of US citizens back from abroad, so that meaningful change can be enacted in the context of today’s global society—politically, economically, and culturally.
However, this endeavor will be not be possible without the support and involvement of a large community of people committed to building a better future for the world in which we live. To this end, I am releasing my first book, Modern Pilgrim, this March as the centerpiece of a crowd-funding campaign to cover the costs of starting our non-profit and this summer’s film. The book covers my own experiences abroad in nearly 30 countries, and how they have inspired me to move to Washington, DC and start Developing America. This book includes the story of a ten-country, one month film project in Southeast Asia completed on just $1,500 including flights. Below is a video of that past adventure, which helped inspire DevAm and this summer's project.
I have been lucky enough to receive a full-ride to a Masters program in International Development in DC, and therefore have decided while in school to build Developing America to fill this need. My goal is to build the organization into a self-sustaining non-profit by graduation in 2016 that is dedicated to developing the consciousness of the US to be more global minded and to better understand how everyday decisions can dramatically effect peoples’ lives around the world. However, to make this possible, we need to complete our first big project this summer and to make this possible we need the support of community to get our project off the ground.
More information will be released soon about this summer’s film and our crowd-funding campaign. However, first I want to post one more upcoming article: “Privilege and Service” and introduce another member of the team.
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