In early 2001 I was approached by an organization that helped to fund missions groups and organizations around the world. They wanted to commission a documentary film about the New Hope Uganda children’s center in Uganda. New Hope is what we in the United States would refer to as a orphanage, although it is really more than that. In Uganda, it is not classified as an orphanage, but a children’s center and school. At New Hope, orphaned children are cared for as children in a family, and raised in family units.
My first reaction to their proposal was to say no. Although every filmmaker, both established and aspiring, will somewhere on their wish list have a documentary shot in Africa, I was not in a mindset at that time to deal with global travel and the intricacies of taking a film crew into a third world country. The group persisted, and I agreed to take a scouting trip to Uganda to see what it would be like – then give them an answer.
The next July, I found myself taking a 3-camera package and a crew of 6 to Africa for a 2-week filming schedule. It still is one of the most memorable productions I’ve ever had. For obvious reasons, it remains memorable because it was so out of the ordinary for me. But, for not so obvious reasons, it brought me back to what my original intent had been many years before, as I ran headlong into the production world – to produce God-honoring content with excellence. In the ensuing years, I had found myself a long way away from that dream. Most of my projects revolved around what I thought would make money, and had little or nothing to do with being what the Lord wanted me to do with the gifts and talents he has given me.
I had made it a condition of my taking the job that I could produce a feature-length documentary film, and they would get a condensed version of that for their marketing purposes. Thus, “New Hope” was born. Although the documentary did not go as far as I had originally intended, it still made an impact for the New Hope Uganda school and its staff.
When I look back at the trailer, it reminds me of how the Lord was faithful to us in his protection and provisions. I’m happy to have had the opportunity to be a part of the New Hope journey.