Last summer I was asked by Engineers Without Borders to provide some coverage of the Run To End Poverty event here in Vancouver, BC. Myself and friends Alejejandro Zuluaga and Andres Salas shot it over two days and since, it’s become a fairly drawn-out side project for me (mostly because Christian is too nice and let me stretch deadlines a couple of times) that’s finally been posted on their website, and so I’m now able to share the video with you.
The Run To End Poverty was started by Christian Beaudrie while he was on a placement near Tamale, Ghana with Engineers Without Borders a few years back. It is either 5K or a half marathon and is a fundraiser in support of international development of third world countries where extreme poverty is a real issue. Christian wanted me to emphasize however – the run is not just for Engineers Without Borders – anyone can participate – in fact all individuals and organizations are encouraged to join in their city’s Run To End Poverty (presently held in Vancouver, Montreal, Winnipeg, and Waterloo) and if their city does not have a run, start one! Contact Christian at the Run To End Poverty website if you want to learn more. Here in Vancouver, the event piggybacks on the Scotiabank Half Marathon and on similar runs in other cities across the country.
One note on the music I’d like to make – and of interest to filmmakers – the two songs you will hear were blasting in the background during the race, and I leveraged this in post, laying down the real tracks for effect without a lot of consideration for rights. I do consider music rights of course – before using Tegan & Sara’s song in the trailer and then the full length versions of Surviving In The Cracks, I got their permission; Anyhow, last summer, when the bulk of this short was shot and edited, I highlighted to Christian this might be an issue, but we decided to push ahead believing the owners of the music would allow it, especially considering the non-profit use of this film. Interestingly however, Youtube muted Dire Straits’ song automatically when Christian tried to upload it there last week, so for now we’re hosting it elsewhere (my Vimeo account – with tight restrictions on embedding and sharing enabled to avoid being blocked again). Youtube is still our ultimate destination to reach the largest audience and in the meantime Christian has approached Dire Straits (and the Soca Boys too) to get their official permission. I am very interested to hear their answer.
Earlier this year I applied with enthusiasm for a long-term overseas position with Engineers Without Borders. Despite having no experience as an international development worker, I am more socially, environmentally, and politically motivated than I once was, and the idea of having an experience such as this was very appealing. The possibility of applying my engineering background while exercising my passions for photography and film as media for international development advocacy was a dream. I managed to make it through two rounds of interviews before learning that I would not be chosen to go to Africa.
Though this process I got to know the EWB a little better. I have been (trying) to be part of the book club and I attend film night where we watch movies that are relevant to international development. It was through the EWB that I learned about the Run To End Poverty.
This event was started in 2007 by then-overseas volunteer, Christian Beaudrie, to raise awareness of poverty in Africa and to connect western development workers with locals in the region he was working in Ghana. Runs (5km or 1/2 marathon) would simultaneously take place in Ghana and in Canada. Those in Canada would piggyback on a larger event, such as the Scotiabank Half Marathon held in Vancouver or the Marathon Oasis de Montreal. The Canadian runners raise money that is then used to send future volunteers to Africa. The Vancouver chapter of Engineers Without Borders raised $14,000 in June, and the Montreal chapter raised even more funds in September.
Despite being overwhelmed with production of the “Surviving In The Cracks” documentary, I was happy to produce a promotional film for the Run to End Poverty, with two friends on a second camera: Alejandro Zuluago and Andres Salas. When the film is complete it will be used to encourage other organizations, not just Engineers Without Borders, to organize their own Runs To End Poverty in their cities.
This is an important project to me and, although it is not as directly beneficial as being an overseas worker myself, I hope that its effect will reach the people on the ground in Africa in one way or another.
Once the film has been completed I intend to post it here.