Keeping It Honest

Saturday was the most important day of filming so far.

Before Saturday, when the girls would ask about the film, we'd mostly give the same boiler plate answers that one might find in a synopsis. And then we'd sit the girls down, and they would, to some extent, answer the questions. But it was clear that we weren't telling them enough. We were the interviewers, the outsiders (with the exception of Heather) and many of their own questions went unasked and unanswered.

Brad shifts gears in an interview,
telling a story from his own life.
Questions like, why me? Because I've suffered? And many assumed -- based on years of experience -- that our film, like many American stories about the conditions of poverty and violence in Honduras, would paint them as victims. A word the girls hate more than any other is: orphans. Bullies at Primero de Mayo, their local public school, even use the term to cuss them out and make them feel small. So needless to say, in short order we found ourselves bumping up against some hard walls. And "I don't remember" became a commonly heard refrain.
Having some fun after an interview.

Brad, responding to one girl's hesitation, offered up some personal stories from his life. About his relationship to his parents. About how his parents used to fight. The interviewee immediately met him at that level. And for a moment, we all shared in the sadness. It didn't belong to anybody.

In the spirit of that shift, we lined up four more interviews - all in a floor-level classroom at the bilingual school, adjacent to the home. And each called on us to depart even further away from the traditional interview paradigm. At one point, Cassidy switched chairs with a particularly shy interviewee. She blasted him with hard questions: What do you think about this place? What do you want to have happen while you're down here? When it came his turn to interview, Cassidy asked the girl which kind of movie she thought we should be making. Without getting into too much detail, she'll be keeping us honest throughout production. The day ended with an older girl interviewing another much younger girl about her experiences at the home (It didn't go so great. The interviewee kept cracking up. But everyone was having fun, maybe too much.)

The word, now, is seeming to spread. We're not here to capture anyone's sadness for the sake of a cheap dollar. We're here to connect, to empower the girls and to learn why this place has made a difference in their lives.  Where these interviews lead is anybody's guess. But we all know we're on the right track to make an incredible film.
Teenager interviews younger girl.
Result: a whole bunch of laughs