Success Stories

Just a few of the things we’ve accomplished with our films...

 
 

1. Built an orphanage in Nepal with Waiting for Mamu.

 
 

Documentary Short: 39:58
Budget: $150,000 (US)
Money Raised: $1.45 million (US)
4 buildings built

2012 CNN Hero Winner AND 2016 CNN Superhero Winner

In 2012 Thomas Morgan started filming Pushpa Basnet when she was 1 of 45,000 CNN Hero nominees. With initial clips he was able to create and excite a global community to spread the word. They voted, she won.

Throughout the filming we saw the struggle that Pushpa faced keeping her housing. We watched as her landlord found out that the kids in the home were prison children and threatened eviction. We set out to use the film to create a global audience to solve this problem. With every screening we held a fundraiser and gave people the opportunity to get involved and help. In 20 months after the film’s release, the 4 building “Butterfly Home” was nearly ready to open—a boy’s dorm, girl’s dorm, administration and classrooms, house for Pushpas and newly released mothers.

But the excitement was dashed when the worst earthquake in the history of Nepal took down nearly 60% of the structures. With our film community intact, we went back to them—this time giving everyone access to the film so that they could hold small fundraisers around the world.

Within 9 month’s time we had raised the funds to complete the Butterfly Home, having raised $1.45 million on the back of this film and the community it was able to gather. The community continues to support Pushpa and her work—long after we have gone.

In 2016 Pushpa won the CNN Superhero Award, bringing even more attention to the work she does.

Group Kid Portrait with Pushpa.jpg

“One of the most beautiful and hopeful stories I've ever seen.”

— Morgan Spurlock, Filmmaker

 
 
 

2. Built a preschool in a refugee camp with Soufra.

 
 

Feature Documentary: 72 mins
Budget: $563,000 (US)
Film’s Effect: Preschool built in the Burj El Barajneh camp in Lebanon and over $800K raised to support it over the next 10 years

Soufra was released in 2017 to international acclaim, screening in over 45 film festivals and receiving 9 awards.

The film has brought much deserved attention to Mariam Shaar, a generational refugee who has spent her entire life in the Burj El Barajneh refugee camp just south of Beirut, Lebanon. The film follows Mariam as she sets out against all odds to change her fate by launching a successful catering company, “Soufra,” and then expand it into a food truck business with a diverse team of fellow refugee woman who now share this camp as their home.

Through the film screenings and the Soufra Cookbook, which we published in collaboration with the women of the Soufra food truck, we were able to help build the Nawras Preschool in the refugee camp and raise over $300K for the ongoing support of the school.

The December 2018, Soufra was invited by the Vatican to screen in Rome as part of the Laudato si’ Challenge, where a Family Fund was launched, bringing together ten families to pledge $10,000 USD per year for ten years to cover the running costs of the Nawras Preschool, to enable children who are unable to pay the school fees to attend, and to enable all three components of Alfanar's investment -- catering, food truck, microloans and preschool -- to achieve sustainability ahead of exit. To date, five families have pledged to the Nawras Preschool Family Fund. Alfanar will be organizing a family visit of the Nawras Preschool as part of the fund's commitment.

The screening at the Vatican inspired us to start the Breaking Bread initiative, offering the film to communities around the world to build bridges across cultural and religious divides.

Nawras Heart Hands.jpg

“A stirring tale of empowerment.”

— New York Times

 
 
 

3. Built homeless shelters & changed legislation with Storied Streets.

 
 

Feature Documentary: 61 mins
Budget: $220,000 (US)
Film’s Effect: Catalyst for 5 laws changed in the US and construction of 2 emergency shelters Estimated value of effect: $1.5 million (US) (based on quotes from lobbyist attempting the same results)

Thomas Morgan’s film Storied Streets brought the reality of the homeless issue to the forefront in a way that had never been done before. With almost 400 hours of footage, we were able to find many new and creative programs across the country and become a knowledge hub for communities struggle for solutions.

Thomas spoke to the US Congress twice, once to screen the film and offer a candid discussion of the issues and a second time to address the issue regarding the violence against the homeless and the need to make it a hate crime.

In 2014 we worked through the National Coalition for the Homeless and used the film to kick off Hunger and Homeless Awareness Week—screening the film at over 700 college campuses and organizations across the US and in Canada.

We have used the film to create understanding—engaging both the homeless community and local government as part of panel discussions. Such discussions have lead to the changing of 5 laws in the US and the construction of 2 new emergency shelters.

The film, still resonates as we it screens across the country at state housing organizations and universities.