When filmmaker Melissa Kirkendall learned about a 40 something single woman who had moved to Ecuador to find herself, she being 40 something and single herself, was immediately intrigued. Middle aged women don’t go to places like Ecuador and work the land to reinvent themselves – rather they go to Italy, London, Spain or even Bali. So Kirkendall went down there for a month last December to meet Deborah and see if Deborah’s story was worth turning into a project. What she found was unexpected, inspiring and so much bigger than just a story of one woman’s personal journey of discovery.
While Deborah’s story will be a focus point, there are many layers and offshoots to explore within Deborah’s journey and also the stories of the people who are involved in the communities in the area around the finca. The story of a famous indigenous midwife for instance will also be made into a stand alone short that will support the feature as it will be completed before next year.
On Melissa’s first trip there she was able to meet many more westerners who are collaborating with Deborah and other projects to help with the long list of issues that Ecuador struggles with… everything from a huge stray dog problem, to trash issues, orphans, refugees from Venezuela, education and organic sustainable farming.
The area is a petri dish of experimentation and ideas all focused on how to make life better for the indigenous, for themselves and for the world.
Melissa also met and interviewed the acting president of La Calera while there and has already been offered access to the current president as well as other prominent indigenous people from the area to get their commentary on how this collaboration is going in their communities. Even though there is clearly some resistance and conflict, everyone involved welcomes having a voice that could help them even more. This documentary will be a part of that voice.
Deborah and her father have a vision for the finca to become a model example that communities around the world can learn from and start their own organic self sustaining community where everyone thrives.
It is estimated that it will take us 2 years to fully explore and document the story of Deborah and the finca as we need that much time to see how things are progressing to effectively illustrate what is working and what is not.
The main focus of this film is to inspire more efforts like this around the world. You can be a humanitarian, make a difference and still thrive personally and economically. Through a series of raw, honest interviews and filming the actual work, conflict and community we will be a voice for this effort happening in La Calera Ecuador.