Twilight Frequencies: Where did the mission come from?
Michael Peters: The foundation of the project was always art. Kari and I have always had a strong connection and art was how that connection always seemed to manifest. We had worked/played together on several video art projects; short films, photography, even local commercials – but wanted to find something that was not “just” visually appealing…but really had something to say.
While I was in Tennessee and Kari was in New York, we continued to have a dialogue about our next short film. We were focusing on our usual artsy avant-garde type film, but the motivation wasn’t there.
During this time our friend Jonathan Caleb Meador was traveling extensively throughout Central and South America. He would regale stories of working with the locals on their farmland in exchange for room and board. Staying no more than a few weeks at a time, he would soon pack his belongings and travel by any means necessary to the next location, even if it meant hitchhiking. There was something so simplistic and sustainable, yet productive and inspiring about this idea. As his stories reached state side, Kari and I found our phone conversations to slowly start focusing only on travel adventure and unknowingly began to birth the brainchild we now know as Backpod.
We began to push around the idea of traveling with a purpose.
We wanted to create something that had a purpose not only for us as adventurers, but an idea that could encourage a global mindset in our audience and ourselves. As we began to press further into this realm, the idea started to lend itself more towards a non-profit sector project. In a leap of faith, we contacted non-profits in various Central American countries to pitch this idea of traveling to them and exposing their work by creating short documentation in the form of online video publishing in exchange for room and board. When Global Brigades said yes…we started reaching out to more people, such as sponsors, donors, and media…
We received quite a positive response from many people and Backpod came to life. We are still surprised and grateful to be able to have this project and experience happening.
Twilight Frequencies: Focusing in on Non-Profits there must be a ton of different pieces of information you have obtained about some of their general goals or missions within Central America. Give us an example of an organization you really felt compelled by.
Michael Peters: Global Brigades is an organization that really stood out. If you haven’t heard of their work, you will soon. It is a secular organization that empowers students and professional volunteers to provide communities in developing nations with sustainable solutions that improve quality of life while respecting local culture. GB’s vision is to become the largest student-led social movement on the planet.
What struck us is the idea that students are taking the initiative and making this lasting impact. Global Brigades is really a well-rounded organization thanks in large part to ambitious students with fields concentrating in medical outreach to water purification development even to assisting in local micro enterprise growth. It really had the all-around package.
To Be Continued…