The premiere for our Love Saves film in New York on November 5th took place in a cozy Dolby 88 Screening room, which exuded a relaxed, familial ambiance. Everyone present could feel the unequivocal commitment to the amount of time and effort put into the creation of this screening. As months of hard work and preparation appeared on screen, the room was still and reverent in their attention to the film.
The short film, Love Saves, not only sheds light on what the Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation does for communities, but also fosters a sense of hope – a light in the darkness – that we can accomplish much together.
Before the screening, a team of Tzu Chi volunteers took to the front of the room to present a Sign Language piece titled “Code of Life,” performed with elegance and fluidity, encouraging unity in everything we do. This path of great love was made more potent by the accompaniment of images from our many disaster relief missions, reminding us of our own part in the thousands of helping hands that allow us all to accomplish these acts of compassion.
As the film began shortly after, we are immediately met with the talent of Stephan Amenta, as he dealt with the crushing loss of his mother – the weight of it coloring each interaction with his character. The wonderfully talented cast of Nikole Marone, Hadley Boyd, and Bart Shatto, outlined how a situation can be drastically different when each person lives only in their own despair. It is a story that highlights that in the face of tragedy, and its aftermath, this family was able to pull through with the help of others. The film’s director, Daniel Ferrara, writer, Ida Eva Zielinska, and director of photography, Joshua Ryan Perez, truly brought this journey to life with their artistry, and made the screening an experience to be remembered.
After the short film’s completion, a series of panels were set up for those who brought the film to life:
The first panel consisted of the cast – Stephan Amenta, Nikole Marone, Hadley Boyd, and Bart Shatto. A common theme remarked upon by the actors was the honesty of the material presented, and the vast empathetic connection fostered in such a small amount of time.
The film’s director, Dan Ferrara, writer, Ida Eva Zielinska, and director of photography, Joshua Ryan Perez, formed the second panel. From the point of view of Mr. Ferrara and Mr. Perez, working on this film, and having a very modest budget to work with, allowed the project to feel even more intimate to work on.
It was vital that within this timespan, the importance and specific vision of love inspiring greater love be portrayed in a grounded, yet concise manner – and one that our writer navigated with great skill:
The last group included Tzu Chi members and volunteers who introduced the food pantry in Cedar Grove, New Jersey, which offers food to hundreds of underprivileged families each week. These are the dedicated individuals who ultimately inspired the story introduced in Love Saves.
We invite you to see the short film for your selves, and sincerely hope that it was able to highlight the infallible essentiality of humanitarian aid, and the importance of helping others.