H.O.P.E. Was Here: A Volunteer Travel Documentary

Winning idea by Mark Denega
H.O.P.E. Was Here: A Volunteer Travel Documentary



What is your idea to link your passion to travel with a purpose?

My passion is filmmaking. My purpose is to understand the effectiveness and ethics of Americans and other westerners who volunteer abroad and how our host communities perceive us. My idea is a feature-length documentary-in-progress called H.O.P.E. Was Here. Watch the 10-minute teaser here: https://vimeo.com/52465406.

H.O.P.E. Was Here tells the story of a Stonehill College alternative spring break trip to the slums of Lima, Peru from two juxtaposing points-of-view: that of the American volunteers, and that of the Peruvian locals whom they visit.

I've been making this film for 18 months in Boston and Lima. With over 70 hours of footage, the film is about 3/4 shot. The only remaining footage, however, is the most crucial: the point-of-view of local Peruvians. I would use the $1,000 to get on a plane this February and do 7-10 days worth of shooting in Canto Grande, Peru, where I'd capture life as it occurs without the imposition of 20 American college students. I'd also interview the local people with whom the students work to see what they think of all this.

I'd complete the film later in 2013 and begin screening it at universities that have alternative spring break trips and international studies programs. The film will be submitted to festivals across the world and will be released globally online.

How does your idea create a positive impact on local communities?

Philanthropic travel is booming, hence the existence of this grant. Recent estimates suggest that volunteering on vacation, or 'voluntourism', is growing at about the rate that cruising was in the 90's. It's hot; it's in vogue; it's what people want to do. But it's also under extreme scrutiny.

Is this the best way to engage international development? Is this what community partners want? How do they see us? How are we affecting them? I want to step back and provide some perspective on our urge to do-good overseas by answering these questions for Canto Grande.

In doing so, I hope to give voice to these Peruvians and to re-evaluate our position as well-intentioned westerns in the developing world.

Where will your project idea take place?


Lima, Peru

20 Pink-talk-bubble-tail

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Best of luck!

by scottbunner
over 1 year ago | Reply

You can get more information about ... by google.

by Swainv
3 months ago | Reply

I've had over 15 people contact me to let me know that they were unable to vote due to not receiving their confirmation email. Seems like a pretty unfair competition if you ask me. Can't believe they would drop the ball on something so important like this...

by sp.culver
over 1 year ago | Reply

Hey there Sean -- unfortunately this was an issue for much more than 15 people, probably closer to 100, perhaps more. These guys run a fair show so I'm confident that the bumps will get worked out.

by Mark Denega
over 1 year ago | Reply

The guys from GOOD Maker worked out the issues and we will announce the winner this week. Thanks for your understanding and participating in the travel2change challenge!

by thomaskohler
over 1 year ago | Reply

Some folks received their voter confirmation emails, still others haven't. Hope they're on the way!

by Mark Denega
over 1 year ago

Best of luck! Peru is a fine place to shoot a documentary.

by peterk
over 1 year ago | Reply

Thank you Peter, indeed it is! Looks like we've each had a unique experience.

by Mark Denega
over 1 year ago | Reply

Best of luck! Peru is a fine place to shoot a documentary.

by peterk
over 1 year ago | Reply

Good Luck!

by michael.e.wittich
over 1 year ago | Reply

Done with such precision and grace! Well done Mark. I look forward to seeing the finished product!

by lammy6
over 1 year ago | Reply

What an interesting topic! This should generate some great discussions, I can't wait to see the finished product! Keep it up, Mark!

by sp.culver
over 1 year ago | Reply

Go Mark!

by ksaltbruin
over 1 year ago | Reply

I love this! It sums up exactly how I feel about my previous HOPE experiences. Good luck! I can't wait to see the finished product!

by SaraDenoncourt
over 1 year ago | Reply

Great work!

by benjamin.a.albert
over 1 year ago | Reply

Really fascinating! The very fact that you have “popular” clips from the news and comedians to use at the beginning and end highlights how service immersion trips are part of a larger trend. However, it’s not always clear if these trips are beneficial and, if so, beneficial to whom and beneficial how. You thoughtfully show this complexity while also being true to the fact that students participating on trips have a good time and enjoy themselves. Excellent way to foster a discussion!

by chris_wetzel@hotmail.com
over 1 year ago | Reply

This expresses everything that H.O.P.E is about! Such a great feeling and emotionally driven. Great work Mark!! soooo impressed

by michcurtis
over 1 year ago | Reply

Thanks Michelle, spread the word! Also, I saw the artwork you did on Trav's book. So good.

by Mark Denega
over 1 year ago | Reply

Watching this took me back to my experience so quickly. It was incredible to get taken back to that trip for a few minutes. This project is so deserving, both because of its mission and its creator. Mark is such a great guy and brought such a great prospective to the trip! Good luck Mark!

by brendan.murray
over 1 year ago | Reply

Brendan, thanks! I'm glad I can bring back some memories for you. I hope others feel the same.

by Mark Denega
over 1 year ago | Reply

Circle-1-inactive Step1-title-idea-inactive

Submission Began
Tuesday, September 04

Submission Ended
Wednesday, October 31
at 12:00 PM PDT

Circle-2-inactive Step2-title-voting-inactive

Voting Began
Thursday, November 01

Voting Ended
Thursday, November 15
at 12:00 PM PST

Circle-3 Step3-title

Winner Announced
Tuesday, November 20

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