FIRST RUN OF FILMING. PT. 1
Finally getting a chance to catch our breath after completing the first run of filming with Konrad and the family. Our trip began in a rental car out of Chicago en route to Boerne, Texas to meet with the family as they prepped to leave their house for the tour. We traveled with them for 10 days, shot four performances, received lots of advice about how to repair different elements of an RV, and heard from many teachers and families about what they're facing in regards to sepcial education.
Funding, or lack thereof, is certainly a recurring issue among public ed. teachers and often feeling isolated is a common thread among families. We've also heard a lot of positive input as well, including some of the work happening in Charter schools, novel approaches for integration in public school classrooms, and additional social emotional training for general educators. Everyone seems to have something to say about the issue but have honestly felt stifled about where and when to have that conversation. Simply put, special education does not seem to have a prominent place in the national discussion of education reform. Without being too grandiose, hopefully this project can help stir that up.
While the adversities are many, and the solutions are yet to be defined, the main takeaway from this first trip is that the spirit of this project was already out there. The public ed. special needs teachers that we spoke with have all seen their days get longer, their workloads get heavier, their pay drop or stay the same, and yet so many of them remain just as committed, or moreso, than they were on day one. Both in the Wert family and the people we've met along the way, there seems to be an undeniable mix of perseverance and commitment. Konrad and the family are living out this motto of, "You gotta try, no matter what" and I've seen how it applies to the classroom, to music, and to the family. I can also see it resonate in conversations with other special needs teachers and families. They all seem tapped into this same mantra. It's fascinating to observe as a filmmaker and also just as a human being. As Konrad said when asked why he keeps doing it, and why he's persuing special needs advocacy even while stepping away from the classroom, "It's just the right thing to do."
OFFICIAL NEW BACKERS. PT. 2
We are very very excited to welcome on Lagunitas Brewing Company as an official supporter of our film project! I was already well aware of Lagunitas as a purveyor of finely crafted beer but my experience of working with them to come on as a sponsor has been nothing short of magical. Lagunitas has long been a supporter of Possessed by Paul James and their investment in this film project comes from such a genuine and honest place that I'm overwhelmed with gratitude. They're looking simply to support creative work with a positive outreach in the world. We're happy to have them on board and we can all look forward to some future fundraisers featuring some of the good work from Lagunitas. P.S.- If you're in Chicago, let's all meet down at their Tap Room and talk about the film.
We also want to send a big thank you to Magnanimous Media! Magnanimous is a great rental house here in Chicago and they've come on board to help with renting and supplying gear. Having the right gear is critical but it can also be very costly. A big tip of the hat to Magnanimous for working with us to help make sure we have the tools that we need to make the film as good as it can be.
And of course, we have been very fortunate to have many individuals get involved already on a financial and work volunteer level. Many many thank you to those folks as well. Your time, money, and most importantly, your general support of our project is invaluable.