Filmmakers doing good

Being a filmmaker is one of the most amazing jobs – you have the opportunity to make a movie, communicate a message, share a passion, move people, change their lives even.

I love it when filmmakers use these amazing skills to do good. When I was a kid growing up in Madras, Mani Ratnam would often donate a print of his movies to our school (and other non-profit organizations) to enable them raise funds. He’s done that again with Guru – thank you and congratulations!

Another example close to home for me personally, is Mahesh Mathai. Mahesh directed Bhopal Express in 1999 and recently completed work on Broken Thread in London. Mahesh is also on the UK Board of Magic Bus, one of my favorite NGOs based in India.

Magic Bus was started by Matthew Spacie. Matthew lived and worked in Bombay and started to play rugby with a group of street children in 1999. As he spent more time with them, he realized that the ability to play in wide open spaces and learn through playing and having fun had a huge impact on the children – on their attitude and their perspectives. So, Matthew started Magic Bus.

The number of children in need of help in India is staggering –

  • 11 million children live in slums or on the street. 2.3 in Bombay alone
  • Most will be exposed to crime before they are 8
  • 14% of children in India are involved in child labor
  • India accounts for 20% of the world’s out of school children
  • Over 60% of street children start their day with substance abuse
  • About 900,000 prostitutes are under the age of 18

Magic Bus works with these children – street children and at risk children, the poorest of the poor, to help try and change the trajectory of their lives. A lot of organizations in India work on the basic needs – shelter, food, clothing. Magic Bus supplements this and focuses on letting kids have fun and through having fun, teaches them life skills. Magic Bus has worked with over 18,000 children to date!

In addition to Mahesh’s role on the board of Magic Bus, he’s used his filmmaking skills to help the organization as well. He directed an amazing video (below) that encapsulates what Magic Bus does. It is incredibly impactful and is exceptionally well produced.

To me, this is the perfect example of a filmmaker using his skills to do good. I would love to hear about other filmmakers who doing similar things. As an aspiring filmmaker, it is hugely motivational for me to see established filmmakers like Mahesh and Mani Ratnam using their skills to change the world. Thank you both – you are exceptional examples to us all.

Loved the video? Moved by the Magic Bus mission? You can help Magic Bus! Here’s how:

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