Inspiration for Kids of the Gulf

Our fundraising campaign for the film is off to a great start, and I want to take a moment to say a special thank the 92 people from around the world that have put their money on the line to help us make this film.  It’s incredibly humbling and inspiring to see people from across the globe standing up for this.

I have been following the story of the Gulf coast since I first heard about the oil spill last April.  I had a friend that worked on the rig next to the Deepwater Horizon and he saw the raging inferno the night of the explosion.  He shared pictures a week or so later over dinner one night when we gathered with friends. It was my first ‘real’ contact with the disaster apart from the round-the-clock news reports that the rest of the world was seeing.

I went on to lead a small documentary team to the coast last Summer – to hear from the people in the communities.  To let them share their stories.

Today, I wanted to take a moment to explain why we are making this film now. Most people believe that the oil spill is old news and the coast has recovered and is back to normal. It’s not quite that simple, however.

I visited the Gulf coast on April 20-23 of this year to check in on the communities that our team visited last Summer.  I wanted to see how things were progressing 1 year later.  What I heard was troubling to say the least.

Check out this short video below I put together that has some of the personal stories from the coast.  If you can’t see the video, click here.

Regardless of the progress that’s been made to restore the communities and the environment to their pre-spill state, there is much ‘silent suffering’ going on down there, particularly in the small fishing communities.

Here’s what I heard over and over again – many of the coastal residents are living paycheck to paycheck during ‘normal’ times, so when a disaster like this comes along, it’s not something they can readily adapt to. There is simply no precedent for it. They are used to adapting to natural disasters like hurricanes, flooding, coastal erosion, etc., but even those things are issues that they have some sense of control over. When a hurricane hits, they can rebuild.  But when an oil spill happens like the BP spill, they can’t rebuild the entire Gulf of Mexico.  Nobody can.

This oil spill was totally out of their control and it has disrupted the lives of hundreds of thousands of people along the coast.

Cutoff LouisianaYou see, their lives are different now.  They are not the same as they were, regardless of how much advertising BP runs to make the world believe everything is perfectly fine and dandy.

These are the stories that I believe deserve to be told, so when Devon and Devin approached me and said they wanted to help, the idea for this film popped into my head immediately.  There was never a question as to whether or not this was a good idea, or if people would care.  I KNEW people would care.

92 generous people from around the world have proven that to me today.

Ian Somerhalder and Sophia Bush have proven that to me today.

The long list of emails from friends and family that sit in my inbox awaiting response have proven that to me today.

What I’m asking for today is a little faith. Faith that this story is worth telling. Faith that these kids are going to do their best to share this story with the rest of the world in a way that inspires other kids from every corner of the globe to speak out and work together on issues they care about in their own communities.

Last week, I saw a headline that Halloween is projected to generate $6.9 Billion (yes, that’s Billion with a B) in consumer spending in the US due to an increase in the number of Americans celebrating the holiday. I’m all for celebrating, so let’s celebrate, shall we?

I’d like to see us celebrate the spirit of these kids as they do their part in making our world a kinder, more understanding and compassionate place for us all to live.

Can you celebrate with us?  If so, click here to join your fellow global citizens in helping to bring Kids of the Gulf to life.

And please, if you know people along the coast – share this with them and let them know that people still care. We won’t forget, period.

Thank you for all you’re doing to help!

Brandon Sutton
Creator & Executive Producer
Kids of the Gulf

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