Who is Brittany?
Advocate, creative producer and foster mom. I was born at my parents home in California in 1982. Growing up I was homeschooled, my family planted churches across the U.S. and we moved every 2-4 years until I was 15. My parents taught me to love learning, work hard, and serve others. I married young, to a tall and handsome Canadian, we lived in the Turks & Caicos Islands before settling in Panama City, Panama – this month we celebrated our 13th anniversary! A few years after the birth of our second biological son I began my filmmaking journey, producing my first short documentary Dear Panama with YWAM’s Voice for the Voiceless ( www.youtube.com/watch ) . Thanks in part to local screenings of the documentary and a social media campaign that followed, Law 46 passed in 2013. Shortly after we became the first foster family in Panama’s pilot foster care program, welcoming two more children into our family. We have four kids in total and two dogs, never a dull moment!
How would your friends describe you?
Passionate, resilient, concerned about social justice, intelligent, big heart, goal oriented and a great friend << I had to take a poll on my “Mom’s” Whatsapp group!
What does a day in your shoes normally look like?
Since I freelance as a creative producer I’m able to determine my hours. I work on a project-by-project basis. It’s important for me to be present for the kids, Dave (my husband) and I see parenting as a partnership so we share responsibilities and driving. I couldn’t ask for a better partner in life! We’re up early to get all four kids ready for school, I schedule meetings and Skype calls after 10am – I’m not a morning person! Often I’ll work mornings while the younger kids are in school and then evenings after the kids are bed. Afternoons are reserved for after school activities and homework. The two younger kids will start going to school full-time in August, I’ll have a more “normal” work schedule when that happens.
Tell us what you’re really passionate about?
Creating! My mind is always thinking of new ways to communicate messages using media and film. The more creative and “out-of-the-box” the better, I’m really digging how 360 video is being used to support causes and tell stories differently. Participant Media inspires me by how they use both documentary and narrative to advocate for social causes. Watch Jeff Skoll’s TED talk “Making Movies That Make Change” www.youtube.com/watch?v=3-RQ6i0_qRw. The cause I’m most passionate about is being a voice for children. An estimated 8 million children grow up in orphanages worldwide, there is a growing movement to place these kids into families. In a orphanage children are at risk for physical and sexual abuse as well as mental and developmental delays from being institutionalized. Professionals are working to provide the services needed to keep families together, reunite separated families and establish kinship care, foster care, small group homes and local adoption in countries where there hasn’t been alternative care options before. This is incredibly exciting and as foster parents here in Panama its amazing to be a part of change.
What does being light look for you in your industry?
I believe in using media and film to advocate for human rights. We have an awesome opportunity to use these tools to spread messages of justice on a larger scale than ever before. To me this is what “faith in action” looks like, being a voice for others. Right now several of my projects advocate for children growing up in orphanages who have been labeled orphans. Using film we helped change law in Panama and saw children placed into families, how amazing is that?
What projects are you currently working on?
After Dear Panama I co-produced short documentary, A World Without Orphans with producer/director Dianne Becker in partnership with ITEC. I just came back from the festival premiere at the International Christian Film Festival (Orlando, FL) where we were nominated for “most inspirational” in the documentary category. We’ve hosted additional screenings in Canada, at the Global Forum for World Without Orphans in Thailand and most recently at the Christian Alliance for Orphans Summit. It’s exciting to share the message with others, the Q&A’s are always my favorite. You can watch A World Without Orphans online at www.christiancinema.com I also consulted for documentary Lost Kites which is currently on their world tour, to find screening dates/locations go to www.lostkites.com Right now I’m producing a narrative feature Contra la Corriente with Panamanian writer/director Gurnir Singh. The movie has themes of adoption mixed with Panamanian myths and legends, I am excited about Gurnir’s artistic vision and to be working with Panamanian network NEXtv. This April DiCine, in partnership with the Panama Film Commission, announced the results of a local contest Contra la Corriente was selected to present at the American Film Market in November. I’m also working on developing several other projects and concepts including a design reality TV show, a documentary about advocates and a narrative I co-wrote Archivo Pendiente.
Do you have any advice for others who want to break into the film industry?
Do what you love and work hard at it. When you do what you love its easy but then you get to a point, that “next level” when you have to work hard to see breakthrough. Don’t despise the day of small beginnings, everyone has to start somewhere. Just keep at it and keep learning, strive for excellence. Surround yourself with people who know more than you do. Relationships are critical to getting anywhere and in-particular the film industry. Be genuinely interested in others projects, being a creative is hard. People will remember you if you support and encourage them along the way. And they will do the same when its your turn.
Where can people connect with you?
You can find me on Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat @MyLifePanama. You can find updates about my projects and more on Facebook at Querido Panama, Archivo Pendiente, A World Without Orphans, Lost Kites and Seedling Media Productions.