When I first met filmmaker Scott Moore, he mentioned that his next project would be about a clown.

Yeah, I know. I asked the same question: “Why clowns?”

A film about clowns in the hands of just any filmmaker could be . . well . . . frightening. This isn’t that kind of film. This project is overflowing with love and joy and hope and beauty.

I desperately want to see it exist.

Currently in pre-production, the film Becoming Fools depicts the lives of Guatemalan street youth and the hope of opportunity. It tells the story of Italo, a professional clown who invested in the lives of young people living on the streets. He dreamed of a youth center that would provide opportunity these kids had never known. Sadly, Italo’s life was cut short when he tragically drowned in February of 2011. This film, from the ambitious and inspiring team of Athentikos Productions, wants to honor Italo’s vision and legacy by telling this beautiful story of struggle and hope.

We wanted to share this project with you. Here is a special interview with documentary filmmaker Scott Moore:

How did you come across such a compelling subject for your new film Becoming Fools?

We met Italo through our missionary friend Joel Van Dyke in January, 2009 while we were in Guatemala filming our documentary, Reparando. We were immediately drawn to him. He was a professional clown who spent his spare time working with kids that lived in the streets. Italo was originally going to be included in Reparando, but during editing, we decided it was best to focus the story on Shorty, Tita and the Guatemalan Civil War. However, we loved Italo and his story so we kept it in our queue to revisit in the future.

What is it about this story that made you and the crew at Athentikos say “this has to be our next project”?

In November 2010 we premiered Reparando in Guatemala City and had an opportunity to spend some more time with Italo. We were shocked when we met the street kids he worked with because they looked so much older than they really were. Most had left home between 8 and 10 years old and had lived on the streets for years. Many of them were addicted to solvent and glue as a way to curb hunger and forget the pain of their past. It was similar to the Guatemalan prison I visited in 2008 that inspired me to produce Reparando, except this prison had no walls. These children were prisoners of the street. We interviewed a few of the street kids on camera and and were moved by their stories. It was a humbling experience and we left with a desire to pursue the story in 2011.

In February 2011, shortly after beginning pre-production, we received a phone call from Guatemala telling us that Italo had drowned in a tragic accident. If he had been shot on the street we would have been sad, but at least it would have made sense. But, he drowned in a freak accident. We felt more than ever that this story had to be told – not just to honor Italo’s life, but to try an build momentum for the effort to help these kids. So we’ve spent the last year in pre-production. We started developing our Kickstarter Campaign in May and launched at the end of August to raise funds for production. We believe this story has the power to make a difference in the lives of street kids around the world!

Even though it’s in the early stages of production – how has the message of Becoming Fools and the inspiration of Italo impacted you and your team already?

This beautiful story has already changed my life. Italo was a true hero. He modeled the selfless love of Jesus to the least, last and lost. At the time of his death, he had given away everything he owned to help these street kids and was sleeping on the floor of his apartment. His life was a comedy and his death was a tragedy. It is tragic that these kids ran away from home when they were ten years old. It is tragic that they are addicted to drugs and have little opportunity to make their lives better. But we have the oportunity to try to make their lives joyful – a comedy.

We originally wanted to include the clown theme in this story because Italo was a clown. He began to teach kids living on the street to clown so they could have a job. But now I realize that Italo was teaching these kids to clown for a deeper reason. Clowning can help these kids process their tragic stories and better understand their wounds. Clowning can also empower these kids to begin to communicate their stories non-verbally – in a way that crosses culture and language – so that we the audience can begin to understand their needs and respond. Clowns captivate an audience between tragedy and comedy. We can work together to provide the leverage needed to lift these kids out of their current situations and show them true hope.

We are inspired that churches and organizations in Guatemala that were once working independently – in competition with one another – are now collaborating together to make a difference in the lives of these kids. The Becoming Fools story has inspired this collaboration in a way that we have no control over. I love that this is more organic and more than natural than we could have ever planned – it is supernatural. Only God could bring people together like this. We are praying that our Kickstarter Campaign will be successful so we could produce this story and empower this collaboration to grow even more. We believe that together we can not only fund a film but also inspire a response around the world. Yes … we are fools … but we are fools for the right reason. (1 Corinthians 4:10-13)

Get ready. This is a two-parter! – How do you think film holds the power to affect change? Are there any films/filmmakers that have deeply impacted you to live differently or take action?

I personally believe films are called motion pictures not only because they are pictures that are moving, but also because they have the power to move people. Film is experiential. It has the power to expose the viewer to locations, characters and story, but also immerses the viewer in an experience as if they were living out the scene. We live vicariously through the character on screen and feel their emotions. Films have caused riots … and they have inspired people to respond positively to needs around them. That is our purpose at Athentikos – to document AUTHENTIC hope and inspire people to respond. We witnessed this with our film Reparando. People were moved to respond to the story – and not just in Guatemala. People responded locally. People in Philadelphia responded in Philadelphia; people in LA responded in LA. We are excited about the potential for Becoming Fools to inspire audiences to get involved with the issue of kids who live on the street. Although it is a story that takes place in Guatemala, there are street kids in every city around the world. We can get involved right where we are.

As for films and filmmakers that have impacted me to live differently, this is a tough question. I don’t want to give you a cop-out answer, but films are my passion. As a filmmaker myself, it is often difficult for me to simply watch a movie for enjoyment. I am always watching critically, evaluating and applying the film to my personal life as a story-teller. I love documentaries like War Dance, God Grew Tired Of Us, Lord, Save Us From Your Followers and Which Way Home. Films like these have opened my mind to a world beyond the one I live in Nashville. They connected me to something important and invited me to get involved. I love dramas like Crash, The Kite Runner, Charlie Wilson’s War and Blood Diamond … they all challenged my perception of reality and definition of what is important. Most of the world is drastically different than the bubble we live in the US.

If I were to chose one film that most caused me to respond, I would have to say Hotel Rwanda. I volunteered my time for 6 months creating a promotional campaign for a reconciliation ministry in Africa after seeing Hotel Rwanda. I couldn’t believe that I didn’t know that was happening in Rwanda back in the 90s. I HAD to respond.

When someone donates to your Kickstarter project – where will this money go?

Kickstarter uses Amazon Payments to transfer pledges at the end of a successful campaign in to an Athentikos account. No money is transferred until the end of a successful Kickstarter campaign. We’re praying that our campaign will raise our goal of $150,000 before October 5, 2011 so we can move forward into production and tell this story. We will use the money raised through this campaign to produce the story and cover the costs of Kickstarter incentives. $150,000 might seem like a lot, but in the film production world this is a small figure. To put it in context, this money is for over two years of work from several people, plus travel, food, lodging, equipment and the surprises along the way (nothing ever goes as planned). Reparando cost over $400,000 when all was said and done. We’ve estimated that Becoming Fools will be in the same price range, but we are donating our time because we believe in the story’s power to impact the issue of street kids.

How can we help? Give us the full rundown!

The most important issue is to fund the film through our Kickstarter campaign. That is the first domino that needs to fall. We can’t move forward if we don’t have funding. We know $150,000 is a lot of money, but there are a lot of people connected on the internet. On the internet, millions of people can watch a video overnight. Interestingly, If the people who have already liked our Kickstarter page on Facebook would make a pledge, we would make our goal very easily. Don’t get me wrong. We appreciate the number of Facebook Likes, but we can’t produce a film with likes. We need people to back the project. Every pledge counts.

Added bonus … You get to decided where we host the world premiere of Becoming Fools. The city that raises the most financial support for the Becoming Fools Kickstarter Campaign will host the world premiere of the film FOR FREE! This depends on a successful campaign.

We’ve already raised about $40K through 189 backers. This means that our average pledge is $210 … much higher than the Kickstarter average of $62. People believe in this project and have generously given to help make this film a reality. I would like to encourage you to join us in Becoming Fools. Make a pledge today and ask your friends to do the same. We can do this together!

Here’s the rundown:

1. Back the project:
Go here.
Click the green button that says “BACK THIS PROJECT”.
Sign in through Amazon Payments to make a pledge

2. Share the project with your family and friends via email, Facebook, twitter and face to face conversations

3. Ask people to make a pledge

Hopefully we will be able to celebrate a successful campaign together ion October 5, 2011 and move forward into production to share this important story!

So there you have it. Isn’t Scott awesome? I was excited to share this unique project with you guys. Support Becoming Fools and help spread hope in Guatemala!



One Comment


  1. Love In Stereo:

    Donate now and you’ll also get a free song from the talented AmyStroup & support kids living on the streets of Guatemala – http://ow.ly/6uO5U

    1:41 pm on September 15th, 2011

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