PANAMA: Archivo Pendiente Film Project

Using the power of storytelling through film to impact culture and change lives.

The Cause

Across Latin American orphaned & vulnerable children (OVC's) are growing up in institutions, despite countless studies that prove institutionalization is harmful.  Family-based care and social programs to support poor families are rare, many families feel orphanages are their only option.  Children in institutions are four times more likely to be sexually abused and six times more likely to experience violence than children in Foster Care.  For every year in an institution a child will lose four months of development.  At 18 these children "age out", 60% of girls turn to prostitution and 70% of boys become hardened criminals.  Annually it is estimated 14.5 million children "age out" of institutions worldwide.  They are high-risk and vulnerable to exploitation of every kind. 

 

The Film; Archivo Pendiente (Pending File)

A young boy who finds love in an unlikely place, Miguel Sanchez is taken from his abusive home in Latin America to a local orphanage. There he must choose between survival or protecting those he has grown to love. PENDING FILE is a dramatic feature film inspired by the children who lived it.

Archivo Pendiente is feature-length fictional narrative inspired by actual accounts; it is not a documentary.  It will be filmed in both the Dominican Republic and Panama. Our film will bring awareness to the realities of the hardships children living in institutions face and the immediate need to implement and support family-based care solutions.

 

Modus Operandi is a Emmy-Award winning marketing agency, working for some of the biggest entertainment studios in the world Disney, Warner Bros. and ABC Family.  They have committed to work pro-bono for Archivo Pendiente to develop a visually captivating website.

 

Archivo Pendiente is currently in-development, we need your donations to get to the next step.  We are looking to hire professional cast & crew to make this the best production possible. 

Advocate for the rights of children living in institutions and bring awareness to the general public.  Join UNICEF & RELAF's social media campaign http://www.speakupforme.org/ Facebook updates 

Help us be a voice for children!  Make your donation today! 

Tax-deductible receipts are available for U.S. & Canadian donors.

Project Updates

  •  

    On Mother’s Day we spotlighted the recent changes to the Panamanian foster care and adoption system and the work of HOPE partners, Brittany and Dave DeVries. The old law restricted the ability of potential parents to foster and/or adopt children due to an unrealistically extensive screening process and other administrative challenges. These challenges practically made it impossible for institutionalized children in Panama to be adopted.  

     

    Through the use of new and social media, Brittany helped educate people with regards to the legal restrictions and lobbied for change. Due to the hard work and support of SENNIAF (The National Office for Children, Youth, and Family), Heart’s Cry Ministries, social workers, and all those that vote for legislative change, a new law was introduced on July 17th, 2013, that improved the foster/adoption process and began helping children in the area to find new families.

     

    On March 20th, 2014, Brittany, Dave, and their two children, Grace (8) and Ethan (4) became Panama’s first foster family under the new pilot program welcoming siblings Maria (8) and Carlos  (4) into their lives.

     

    We had the chance to speak with Brittany about her becoming a foster parent and how it’s changed her life: “We have two biological children the same age as our two foster children so in many ways life is the same,” says Brittany. “I often feel like my life is the same but multiplied by 4! More homework, more doctor’s appointments, more grocery shopping. We go through A LOT of bananas in a week. And it’s amazing how little you really need to be happy - time spent, relationships, being creative together these things are of lasting importance with no cost.”

     

    Adding new family members hasn’t just affected Brittany and Dave. How have Grace and Ethan taken to the newly expanded family life? “Grace and Ethan are incredibly flexible,” said Brittany about the family dynamic of her kids, “we’ve tried to raise them to be open to change and welcoming new people into their life. Grace wanted us to foster ALL the children from a local orphanage. That's 130 children!  Ethan is 4 and loves having new playmates. I feel like being a foster family is expanding Grace and Ethan’s view of the world and I hope that it will make them more empathetic and loving toward others.”

     

    Brittany’s work in Panama isn’t over yet, there’s still a lot of work to do to ensure that children in the country are properly cared for. In addition to organizing a support network for foster and adoptive parents, Brittany is also working on pre-production for a feature film and developing a TV project to pitch to local networks.

     

    “Part of my work is getting the word out to every sector and exploring what’s possible in our local community,” says Brittany, “The resources are out there, people want to help they just don’t always know how. It’s a huge learning experience and the day-to-day can be very challenging but I wouldn’t change a thing! ‘Live life, love, and be happy’ is our family motto. Life is good!”

     

    Read more about Brittanys work here

     

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  • This Mother's Day has new significance for our partner in Panama, Brittany DeVries. After years spent generating awareness of issues surrounding the institutionalization of Panama's children, and drawbacks to the foster and adoption care system, Brittany has brought change to the Panamanian legislature. This year Brittany and Dave are celebrating Mother's Day with two new additions to their family.

     

    "The more kids you have, the more you expand as a person,” says Brittany on being a mother. "You go beyond what you believe you can do. Love does that."

     

    Since 2008, Brittany, her husband Dave, and two young children have resided in Panama. While volunteering at a local orphanage she experienced first-hand the challenges of children's rights and the bureaucracy surrounding the family investigations of the children. With a minimum wait of three years these children were not being reunited with family nor, when appropriate, were they being declared adoptable. They were in a state of limbo, some for as long as 10 years.

     

    In May 2012 Brittany produced a short documentary titled Dear Panama, with YWAM’s Voice for the Voiceless.  She lobbied to introduce the new legislation by hosting screenings and running a social media campaign. In January 2013, Project Law #551 was presented to Panama's legislature, the National Assembly, and on July 17th, 2013 the law was passed (Law 46).

     

    Law 46 shortened the length of time to investigate families, established a Foster Care Department to oversee Panama's first nationwide Foster Care Program, allowed foster families to adopt their foster child (if declared adoptable), and streamlined the process of national and international adoptions.

     

    Under the new law, Brittany and Dave began the process to become qualified foster parents and on March 20th, 2014 they became Panama's first foster family under the new pilot program and welcomed siblings Maria (8) & Carlos (4).

     

    Even with a growing family, Brittany continues to advocate for structural reform in children's rights throughout Latin America using social media and film.

     

    “I think there are moments in your life when you recognize you are a part of a much bigger story, that what is happening is by divine design,” commented Brittany. “Becoming the first foster family in Panama's pilot program was one of those moments.”

     

     

    Dear Panama - http://bit.ly/18PmjeL

    Hope for the Nations Project Page, Panama: Archivo Pendiente Film Project - http://bit.ly/1iy1o5m

    Follow Brittany on Twitter - http://bit.ly/1meoK2T

  • Guillermo was born in Montreal, Canada to Venezuelan parents. He has lived in many parts of the Americas, including Canada, the United States, Mexico and Venezuela. His knowledge of both Spanish and regional vernacular/customs together with Guillermo's screenwriting acumen bring a rich level of authenticity and story-telling competence to Archivo Pendiente.

    Since 2000 Guillermo has written 12 feature-length screenplays and 4 television pilots. He studied under both Phil Guidry and Dov Simens. Skidboot, a feature film co-written by Guillermo, is currently in development with a novelization of the screenplay by acclaimed author Cathy Luchetti to be released in 2013. In addition to writing screenplays, Guillermo is a children's book author and is currently working on a series illustrated by Christina Leal.  To date Guillermo has written three feature screenplays involving orphans and disenfranchised children in various parts of the world. Archivo Pendiente marks his fourth and most personal undertaking. 
     

  • Advocate/Filmmaker/Mom

    In 2008 Brittany relocated to Panama with her husband and daughter.  Soon after she began volunteering at local orphanages and began to learn about the process of family investigations and the challenges children faced in an institutional setting. 

    In April/May 2012 Brittany produced a short documentary with Voice for the Voiceless and Grassroots News, directed by Samuel Joseph Rich.  On May 31st Querido Panama (Dear Panama)premiered in Panama City, Panama and Kona, Hawaii on the same night.   Their log line, "defend children's rights to a family".  At the  Panamanian premiere attendees included  Director Gloria Diaz of SENNIAF, the Minister of International Affairs and  Sister Lourdes (Director of Malambo Orphanage),   Following the premiere Brittany began a social media campaign on Facebook and Twitter to promote legislative reform.  The documentary has been viewed on YouTube by over 10,000 around the world.  Querido Panama recently won an award for "Film Content" at the International Premio Diva Latin American Film Festival.  In July 2013, Law 46 was passed.  This law shortens the process of family investigations, establishes a national foster care program and streamlines adoption for those in a state of adoptability.

    Archivo Pendiente is a labor of love for Brittany.  On a weekly-basis she interacts with several very special "pending files".  To Brittany these children are more than a piece of paper and it is her desire and drive to see these children in a loving family that has made her the advocate she is today.  Passionate about deinstitutionalization and every child's right to family-based care, Brittany has worked tirelessly to communicate to all who will listen.

    Her goal is to see legislative reform not only in Panama but across Latin America & the Caribbean.  She believes in the need to find family-based solutions that work in Third World countries and are in compliance with the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.  Currently Brittany works as a Producer at Seedling Media Productions.  

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