In the current economic climate, non-profits must be innovative. Tacoma-based New Phoebe House Board Vice-President Peter Bortel is combining his commitment to the non-profit and passion for storytelling to raise money and awareness.
Through his production company, Our World Films, Bortel teamed up with Vester Media led by filmmaker Carly Vester to produce “Stand Up.” Starring two South Sound stand-up paddle boarders – Erica Lichty and Jeannine Mackie – the movie documents a two-day 70-mile race called Seventy48. The event, held every year from Tacoma to Port Townsend, is a grueling test of endurance through unpredictable weather using only human power – no motors, no support, no wind.
Seventy48 serves as the backdrop to the theme of “Stand Up” – women finding their strength in a sea of challenges. For Bortel, “Stand Up” became more than a documentary. He saw an opportunity to both share the film and raise awareness and funds for New Phoebe House. Several screenings are planned throughout the Pacific Northwest. The free debut screening event will be May 5 from 4:30-6:30pm at Heritage Distillery in Gig Harbor. At each screening, filmmakers will be asking for donations to support New Phoebe House.
Mackie, an avid stand-up paddler, said the fundraising project added purpose to the challenge, “Let’s do something for somebody who simply can’t because they are literally fighting through every day.” Her competition partner, Lichty, also appreciated the extra dimension the project added to the competition. “If I can do something that actually makes a difference it will make living on earth worth it.”
In the film, Lichty reflects on her own growth journey and how important it has been for her to find space. “If you can’t give yourself some space to grow and heal then you can’t come together with your family and loved ones whole.” It is this sentiment that resonates with New Phoebe House Executive Director Lisa Talbott, who says “this is exactly what we do at New Phoebe House. We give our resident moms and their children a safe space. They know their basic needs will be met here so they can focus on their own healing and growth.”
One of the tenets of New Phoebe House is building trust. Film director Vester understands the importance of trust in her work as well, “I always feel honored when someone entrusts me with their story. This film couldn’t be made without trust. It is a documentary that empowers women and brings voice to difficult topics.”
The screenings are an opportunity to raise awareness about New Phoebe House and the positive outcomes it provides in Pierce County. “New Phoebe House gives women and moms the strength and confidence to succeed individually and enable their children to lead more successful and productive lives,” says Bortel.
For information on all “Stand Up” screenings learn more about the film, visit the “Stand Up” website.