Tag Archives: Wrap Up Africa

Sewing to Save Lives

by Gail Mooney
April 5 2014

This photo Tailor at Wrap Up Africa, Kampala, Ugandawas taken when we were in Uganda, working on the segment in our film about Wrap Up Africa.  This tailor is sewing to be able to pay for her child’s cancer treatments. Founder Letha Sandison established Wrap Up Africa to help aid cancer patients and their families in Uganda.  She has also created jobs for artists who design and make buckles and buttons for these garments that reach markets all around the world.  In essence she has created a foundation that can sustain itself.

The Power of One

by Gail Mooney
September 13 2013

The journey is over and the memories have begun to fade.  But the legacy lives on in the film my daughter and I created, when we set out some 3 years ago seeking individuals who were making our world a better place. And indeed, we found many people – ordinary people who were doing extraordinary things. And every one of these people had one thing in common – they had found their purpose in helping others.  Buddhist monks at the Grand Palace, Bangkok, ThailandThe more they gave – the more they got back in return.  But none of them “gave” with the idea of getting something in return. It wasn’t about getting money, favors, recognition, or other ego related pursuits, it was about caring for their “fellow man”.

I think that the biggest reward for me in making this film, was sharing that experience with my daughter.  She was fortunate to have been born and raised in a beautiful and privileged part of the world and I wanted her to have a greater global perspective.  It’s almost impossible to “care” for your “fellow man” when if you don’t have an understanding of who they really are.  We all hear about conflict and our “differences” that seem to keep our world divided, but for many of us it’s too distant and outside our consciousness and the confines of our own daily reality.

The truth is the world seems like it’s gotten a whole lot smaller since I was my daughter’s age.  It’s amazing how technology has connected us all.  What’s even more amazing is the “reach” each one of us has. It’s not very difficult for “one person” to get their message out these days – globally – and instantaneously.  Think of the power in that.  I realized that first hand with this film and how it has connected people all over the world. I am grateful that I live in an age, when I am able to use my craft, to spread the message about the power each one of us has in making a positive difference in our world – the  “power of one”.

But it starts with each one of us, in our own communities and with the people we have relationships with.  We can all be a little more thoughtful of how we treat the people we know – that is if we can get outside our own egos. It may be as simple as stopping ourselves before we say something, or do something that could affect someone negatively and ask, “how would I feel if I was on the receiving end?” It’s the little things that we all do and say, that can affect someone, either positively or negatively and that in turn goes on to affect more people and it starts to ripple through “community” and beyond.

I think we all need a reminder from time to time that it serves no purpose to dismiss or treat anyone with disregard, anger or contempt. It only serves to make us bitter inside.  I have learned that lesson more than once in my life. The older I get, the more I realize that I’d rather harbor thoughts of love, kindness and forgiveness than hold onto negative ones.  Ultimately, life’s too short to focus on the negative.

We each have our own perspective and we each get to choose the lens we see “life” through. I choose a lens of love, respect and caring.  I haven’t always chosen that lens and no doubt there will be times in my life, going forward, when I will falter and start seeing life through the wrong lens.  Please, let me know when I do.

For those of you who have been asking when Opening Our Eyes will be available – it has been released on DVD and VOD.

Going Around the World – Two Years Later

by Gail Mooney
May 28 2012

Last Friday marked a milestone in my life and this project.  It was two years ago, on May 25, 2010 that my daughter, Erin and I departed on our journey around the world.  Our quest was to set foot on six continents, seeking the change makers – people who were making our world a better place.  It seems like it was a lifetime ago.

 

Last week, I was almost too exhausted to remember the anniversary of our departure – I was still depleted from my month long sojourn in China – teaching.  While I loved the “teaching” part of the trip, it had its challenges in other ways. It pushed me out of my norm in many ways.  It is taking me a bit longer to bounce back this time after a long trip, but I’m not fighting my body’s natural instincts to rest.

 

So much has changed since that spring day in 2010 when Erin and I boarded a flight bound for Kampala, Uganda for the first leg of our 99-day journey around the world.  There have been a lot of ups and downs and hits and misses since then.  If I dwelled on the misses, I would only get myself down.  I remember Maggie Doyne talking about her own trials and tribulations and how she tried to focus on the good and the positive.  I try to adopt Maggie’s attitude but it’s not always easy, as I’m sure it’s not for Maggie.

 

When I do take time to look back over the last two years of my life, I’m amazed at what has transpired – the people I’ve met, the places I’ve been to, and the opportunities I have been given and able to share with my family.  I’m so grateful – mostly for having the courage to live life.  But I’ve had plenty of help and encouragement from friends and family.  I could not have done half of what I did in the past two years without the support of my friends in the way of emails, phone calls, blog comments and Facebook posts. It was especially meaningful to hear from friends when I was on the road – like a lifeline connection.

 

I stay in contact with many of the subjects from the film even though we are all scattered on different continents.  These days it’s not hard to stay in touch with friends via emails, Skype and social media and I love having friends all over the world.

 

I think I will enjoy being home for a while and all the little things that come with it.

 

99 Days and Counting

by Gail Mooney
September 28 2011

When I formed this idea, almost two years ago, I would not have believed then that I would still be working on this project now. Not only am I still working on it, but it has taken on a life of its own. In fact, we have  a new tagline, which aptly describes what this project has become:

It’s not just a Move – It’s a Movement

With that said, we have decided to launch another funding cycle, through Indiegogo. This time, we have more than just an idea and a lot of uncut footage – we have a finished movie and a movie that’s getting rave reviews.

Today is the start of our 99-day cycle of fundraising.  Why 99 days?  Well, for starters, our journey around the world took 99 days to complete the circle.  And, in 99 days, it’s Erin’s birthday – her 25th.  I was 25 years old when I decided to pursue the path I’m on as a photojournalist, instead of following a more lucrative profession.  I had gone to see Jay Maisel, a legendary New York photographer, known for his bluntness.  After making a lot of excuses of why I wasn’t going to follow my heart and become a photojournalist he looked me straight in the eye and said “You’re 25 years old and you’re already making compromises?”  It was a turning point in my life.

The post-production on the film was completed in July.

Opening Our Eyes Sneak Preview, Traverse City, MI

Since that time, I’ve spent countless hours submitting it to film festivals and trying to create awareness for the film. What’s the point of making something like this if it is not seen by as many people as possible? Our goal is simple and that is to get this movie “out there” by whatever means we can so that we can really make a difference with it.

A comment from an audience member at our sneak preview in Traverse City said:

“I just want to thank you for making this movie and let you know that you
have definitely succeeded in inspiring people. I’ve had a {sic} paradigm
shift after seeing this movie. I think you two should count yourself among
the inspirational heroes for bringing these stories to a larger audience.”

And at our sneak preview in Detroit, Oscar recipient, Pamela Conn who won for
“ best short documentary” stated:

“ I would just like to say that that’s the first thing I thought of was that
it’s obvious that this should be submitted for an Oscar. Absolutely this
is Oscar worthy.”

We have created something of value – a value that goes beyond dollars and cents. But to give this thing legs, we will need “dollars and cents” to take it the next steps. It takes money for festival submissions, PR and marketing and theatrical screenings. In fact Jon Reiss, the DIY of the indie film world says that a filmmaker should allocate half of their budget for PR and marketing – or your film will fall into oblivion.

This money won’t go into my pocket.  In fact, even creating this movie on a shoe string budget made up of airline miles and trades for services has exhausted my savings, not to mention taken me away from my business.  But, something is pushing me to do this.  If we can get this movie “on the map” then everyone wins, especially all the change makers that this movie is about.

Please help us with this movement. Contribute if you can or simply pass along this link to others. We all can play a part in making our world a better place.

As Marian Kramer, a subject in our film says “We all have to shine each other up.”

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The Trailer

by Gail Mooney
March 30 2011