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Teaser for an upcoming Documentary Short

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I just got back from a week in Guatemala. We are working on a documentary for Christianity Today about how gang members are viewed by the society at large and more specifically the church. Here is a little teaser - http://vimeo.com/4907577

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I just got back from a week in Guatemala. We are working on a documentary for Christianity Today about how gang members are viewed by the society at large and more specifically the church. Here is a little teaser - http://vimeo.com/4907577

Nate - It looks like it has excellent potential, especially to hear the story of the ex-gang member who now does ministry. Is he the story line or common thread throughout?

How long did you shoot for?

Edited by Thom(asher)

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Looking forward to more! The quality is really fantastic.

Prbly have more questions once the complete movie is out. Isn't there a quick shot in there of one of the young men actually snorting cocaine? You must have been in at least some danger...

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So this is a pretty convoluted and complex issue - It's tough to get the guys who work and minister with these guys in the prison to appear on camera and identify too strongly with one gang. There is some sensitivity (rightfully so) about their safety both in regards to the authorities and in regards to other gangs. I have a really great story captured about one of the guys (not in this video) who we can't post on the internet, but we will show it at Urbana. He has an amazing conversion story from convicted gang member to minister of the gospel willing to risk his life for these guys.

Initially we were going to just use this video as a modern day "Prodigal Son" allegory - many of these guys want to return to the Father but they feel judged by the "older brother" who in this case is the church in Guatemala. That angle did not come out as strong as we would like from the gang members even though they have a huge mural of the prodigal son story painted in their common area. So we might ease up on that angle - keep the gist of the message but perhaps not mention the prodigal son so clearly.

One of the threads through the piece will be the charity work that the prisoners do for their communities. They create little knick nacks to sell and then give the money to local organizations working with homeless kids etc. It creates an interesting tension with the image of the convicted gang member in prison for murder. It will be important to not oversell one side of that tension - to either demonize or completely sympathize with these guys.

We were only there for about 7 days. 1 of those days was on another project and 2 were actually in the prison. Curiously I felt safer inside the prison than other places in Guatemala (although I never really felt unsafe anywhere we traveled.) Since we were the guests of the gang, they treated us with a high amount of hospitality, making sure we were well fed and had plenty to drink. in fact I am sure we even could of had all the weed we wanted.

About the cocaine - I think I know what you are referring to - it's a guy with a pink piece of paper? He was actually folding that to make an origami like structure as one of their crafts. There was plenty of weed in there, but no coke that I saw.

Next up is a trip to West Africa to do a piece on the prosperity gospel and a piece on the Christian / Muslim conflict in Jos, Nigeria. Should be fun

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