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Two New Fall Updates on Made Here Fund Projects

Still from in-process documentary film La Liga, directed and produced by MacPherson Christopher, Paul Rosenfeld, and Tik Root

Here's some updates from in-progress Made Here Fund project leads.

MacPherson Christopher, Paul Rosenfeld, and Tik Root
Project: La Liga

We are in the midst of filming! And hoping to get a bunch of more days of shooting fútbol in the next few months before the cold (and hopefully snow) comes around.

La Liga Documentary - In Process Clip

Video clip from La Liga, courtesy the filmmakers

On July 24th, we filmed the Annual Migrant Justice soccer tournament, which was a wonderful day of soccer, food, and in our case, videographing. Alongside digital, we recorded in Super 8 film format, which better captures the flow of movement and vibrant color palette of the varying jerseys, soccer balls, green pitches, and blue skies. Shooting on film stock can be nerve wracking as you don't know how the exposed images will turn out, but in our case, the camera is working terrific.

During the tournament intermission, hundreds of farm workers and allies to the Milk with Dignity Campaign, marched to the nearby Hannaford Supermarket to protest abuses in their dairy supply chain. It was a wonderful scene to document, as there was this palpable energy that translated from the soccer field to the protest seamlessly. Hundreds of farm workers dressed in custom soccer kits calling for Milk with Dignity! in unison, as the sounds of sport and celebration continued at Leddy Park next door.

Willow O'Feral and Brad Heck
Project: Untitled Asylum Seekers Project

We've mostly focused on filming two women so far, Sarah and Dora - Sarah is an asylum seeker hailing from West Africa, and Dora is the case worker at CASP (the Community Asylum Seekers Project) in Brattleboro. Dora is Rwandan with deep roots in this area and a Master’s Degree in Peace Building & Conflict Transformation from SIT (the School of International Training). Some of the highlights of our filming thus far includes a field trip down to West African markets in Springfield MA with Sarah on a mission to buy groceries that she can't find in Vermont.

Image of Sarah braiding Dora's hair - courtesy filmmakers
Sarah braiding Dora's hair - courtesy filmmakers

Following Sarah around in her element was delightful, as she haggled expertly in various languages with the Ghanaian shopkeepers (we have to find translators!) Sarah is a loctitian and African hair braiding expert, and we recently spent a day filming with Sarah as she braided Dora's hair - which took about 5 hours! That was really fun, poignant, and very beautiful - filming hands braiding hair in closeup is mesmerizing, like watching a spider weave a web, it’s both intricate and rhythmic. It was fantastic to be a fly on the wall with these two vibrant African women teasing each other and joking around, discussing immigration issues, comparing notes on how to survive Vermont winters, and telling stories. Most recently we interviewed Dora about her work as CASP’s case manager, her life, and what it’s like to call Southern VT her home. This interview has generated fresh direction and energy for the documentary and we’re excited about completing filming this fall and then diving into the edit.

CASP is a very small scrappy grassroots nonprofit, and in the last couple years that we’ve known them, they have been a staff of three (an executive director, an outreach coordinator, and a caseworker). This summer, CASP's Exec Director left CASP in June to accept an exciting job at Migrant Justice and the Milk With Dignity campaign (Congratulations, Kate!) Then a month later, CASPs Outreach Coordinator also vacated her post. That leaves Dora, currently the ONLY staff person left at CASP. The organization is finding their way right now towards a new chapter, with the support of the Board, Dora, and CASP’s many volunteers, donors, and all the asylum seekers who have been part of CASP and served by CASP - but at the same time we really don’t know what this next chapter will look like for the small nonprofit. We have always been most interested in the asylum seekers' experiences of living in Brattleboro, so it doesn’t change our story’s focus too much - it was just an unexpected turn of events, as always occurs in documentary work because real life never follows a script!

Stay tuned for more project updates as folks get to the halfway mark of their projects!

As Director of Content Partnership, Eric works with individuals and organizations to make connections leading to more Vermont stories. As Producer of the Made Here series, Eric partners with filmmakers from New England and Quebec to broadcast and stream local films. Find more info here:
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