We were at an impasse. We knew that our documentary ‘May I Help You?‘ has both extraordinary emotional and dramatic power; also that our messages the film so effectively conveys are profoundly relevant to these times. We’ been searching for a while for a suitable occasion and an affordable venue for a theatrical release – with no success.
When we learned of Connect Miami and its 10 Days of Connection, we immediately realized we had to be involved. Our documentary is about shifting perceptions, inclusion, teamwork, mutual respect and especially, about communication and trust to bridge the lines that divide us – the very objectives that underlie the 10 Days of Connection.
And hence the Connect Miami magic took over. The film itself held the key: we asked for help and help appeared. Radical Partners and the Coral Gables Art Cinema stepped in; Love Button International wanted to cohost; old teammates showed up at the last minute. Movie Day took on a magical quality and context.
Though it centers around my life, the short documentary is much bigger than the story of one individual. Its dramatic impact is a tribute to the consummate artistry of the Director Julio Mendez and his cinematographic team.
I’ve now seen the movie dozens of times on my own and cry every time. But watching with my fellow athletes, able and disabled, adults and youth, all giving voice to the overwhelming joy and empowerment we get from our joint participation, adds weight and context to its intellectual significance. Also, experiencing it on a big screen for the first time, immeasurably intensified the film’s effect.
The documentary – along with the format of the presentation – is now part of our Race2Educate campaign. This program, developed at schools, has become core to the ThumbsUp International mission. We believe that true change starts with the young and from interconnecting with them. We intend to continue on this path year round as well as at next year’s Connect Miami event.
And the shift we crave will come…step by step, by connecting with one person, one event at a time.