A month ago I received a message from Ted Smith, an old uni friend of mine on the Facebook. We’d become great mates living on campus in Canberra over the years, but had not been in touch for quite some time.
Teddy sent me a link to a Kickstarter campaign. He was over filming a documentary in his mother’s homeland, the Philippines. The film (which was already underway) was exploring the impact of Typhoon Haiyan on the people of the community: physically, emotionally and psychologically, and what it meant to “Survive.”
I remember the typhoon happening. The vision and photos on Facebook were devastating. 10,000 killed – with homes and lives in complete tatters. If you’re anything like me though, these types of global disasters often slip away and become nothing more than memories. You read about them so you have enough info in case your quizzed at dinner, then you keep scrolling down the Newsfeed looking for the next important bulletin or happy distraction.
Then there are people like Teddy who empower themselves to become part of the story. They don’t feel disconnected at all. They know they have the power to do something and they do. They set off down the path of uncertainty and challenge with a selfless willingness to take on a role in rebuilding the community.
If you have a few minutes listen to the man himself speak about the project, click on the video below. Each inch of support will go a long way.
His kickstarter campaign ends on Thursday 25th September, 7.11pm AEST.
If you have a small contribution you would be willing to make will be used as best possible.
Read the Full Story Below:
by Ted Smith
Hello fans of earth. My name is Ted Smith; I’m in the process of filming an independent documentary here in Tacloban, Philippines. I came here to discover what life is now like post Typhoon Yolanda. “Have your goals changed”, “what day to day challenges are you encountering”, “how long will it take to gain what you’ve lost, if that is even a possibility”, etc…
Since I’ve started my interviews I’ve discovered that the problems run a lot deeper than just clearing rubble and rebuilding. Unfathomable grief for what was lost is mingled with fear about a future mired in the devastating consequences of a changing climate. Underlying these themes seems to be a general feeling of abandonment – so many months after the disaster there is still debris lining the streets, people living in tents or shacks built from scrap metal. Many people that I’ve met feel that they have been forgotten by their government and the rest of the world. Questions about the effectiveness of the distribution of aid are rife – this is a delicate issue as I’ve been warned by both aid workers and local professionals about asking these “awkward” questions about the use, (or misuse) of international aid funding. It is alleged that many journalists have “got lost on the way home” in this country. I intend to make it back to Aus to share not only the inspirational stories of the survivors of Tacloban, but to also to cast some light onto the discrepancy between the amount of international aid money being donated and the actual aid received by the survivors. Of course, this question mark over the distribution of aid in no way diminishes or undermines the awe-inspiring agencies which do such incredible work over here, which will be another focal point of my film.
That is a brief insight into what I’m trying to do over here. If you want to take a closer look, or even get involved in the project feel free to head to my Kickstarter page (https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1549760622/tacloban-today-life-at-the-sharp-end-of-survival). If you’d like to help out the people of Tacloban, the aid agencies that are doing the hardest work are listed below.
RISKS & CHALLENGES
The progress of my film is reliant on my ability to travel between Surigao and Tacloban. However of course, extreme weather conditions frequently provide an obstacle. So although the timeframe for filming is relatively short, I have decided to make my window home flexible.
Because the people of Tacloban are so desperate, robbery is a common event. I try to be as safety-conscious as possible – I always travel with a local, I keep my possessions hidden and I padlock my camera bag.
My line of questioning is prone to negative attention from political and authority figures. To protect myself I have decided to hold off from releasing my film until I’m safely backed in Australia. To protect the people giving sensitive information about the issue of unworthy aid filtering I will use my discretion and if the information gathered is deemed dangerous to the person partaking in my film I will withhold the parts of the interview that may be potentially hazardous and use other outlets to convey the information they have given me. I.E Related newspaper articles, relevant YouTube clips, and I myself can relay the information as opposed to putting my speaker at risk.