Children faced with life-altering challenges share their art and reveal how Children’s Healing Art Project (CHAP) has improved their lives.
Children’s Healing Art Project (CHAP) is a place where kids can be themselves no matter what situation they are facing in their lives. At CHAP everyone is facing a challenge such as a disability, cancer, or other terminal diseases and it’s that special bond that brings the kids and their families together. This documentary takes you on a journey with three families as you discover the challenges they face and how art has helped as they overcome them.
I believe sharing stories is important. Stories do not only entertain, but can change the way we perceive the world. Making films gives me the ability to tell stories that I feel are compelling and worth detailing. Along with making my own films I enjoy teaching others the art of filmmaking so they can share their own personal stories.
Making this film has allowed me to combine both of my interests, filmmaking and teaching. I worked with the CHAP kids to create this film. Since art is a big part of their lives, I knew creating it together was the best way for me to get to know the kids and to gain their trust. I turned to the art form I know best, filmmaking. The CHAP Art Club Coordinator helped me design a four-day filmmaking camp where I taught the kids how to use the video equipment. We practiced conducting interviews, writing scripts, acting out skits, and editing. To my surprise the kids were very enthusiastic about the process and wanted to film everything we did. I had planned to use the film camp as a stepping-stone in our relationship but it became much more than that. I could see the kids transforming right before my eyes. Not only did the film camp give the kids a new creative outlet it produced some very unique footage that I was able to incorporate into the film.
When I started planning for this project I didn’t know what to expect. My goal was to showcase the feeling you get by being a part of the CHAP community. I was so fortunate to meet such amazing kids that welcomed me into their lives and helped me discover the healing power of art.
The Buchholz Family
The Ellis Family
The Brenneman Family
Mariah Dunn– Director
Before becoming interested in documentaries Mariah worked in Manhattan at Fuse TV and The Martha Stewart Show. She eventually found herself in Portland, OR where she fell in love with documentary filmmaking and teaching. Mariah recently earned her MFA from The University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Her films have screened at a variety of festivals throughout the country including, Cucalorus Film Festival, Carrboro Film Festival, The Pocono Mountains Film Festival, The Columbia Gorge Film Festival and more.
Melissa Willenborg– Additional Camera
Melissa is a filmmaker from San Francisco, CA. She recently earned her M.F.A. from The University of North Carolina Greensboro in Film and Video Production. Her most recent film, Tsunami Flotsam has screened at the Eugene International Film Festival and the International Film Festival of Cinematic Arts.
Allan Luebke- Additional Camera
Allan is an Emmy-winning video and film producer based in Portland, Oregon. His most recent feature documentary, Glena premiered at the 20th Slamdance Film Festival.
CHAP Film Camp Crew
Teresa Buchholz- Camera
Carl Buccholz- Camera
Jacob Ellis- Camera & Sound recording
Josh Brenneman- Camera
Stella Monteverde-Cakebread- Camera
Maya Cakebreak- Camera
Brock Butler– Original soundtrack
Brock, former front man for Perpetual Groove, is a Singer/Songwriter from King George, VA. He has performed nationally and abroad with groups such as: Moe., Umphrey’s McGee, and Everyone Orchestra; can be found frequenting festivals like: Wakarusa, Bear Creek, Bonnaroo and is known for his signature sunrise serenades on Jam Cruise.
Luke Weidner, Weidner Creative LLC
Luke is a creative professional and has more than 10 years’ experience in the design industry. After graduating from Penn State, he worked at companies such as Highlights for Children, Goddard Systems Inc. and HMP Communications. He has received numerous awards for his work in children’s book design, publishing, branding, web design and tablet publishing, including five American Graphic Design Awards.