Connecting Thread: Behind the Scenes, Making of a Documentary

















These photos were shot with my iPhone | Behind the scenes sneak peak at the making of UNLEASHED by Kara Ross  #ConnectingThread Episode 2: Foster Pride for Refinery 29 | LOCATION: New York City 

The past week and a half we have been filming the second episode of #ConnectingThread for UNLEASHED. All I can say is, these stories are POWERFUL. This has been an exciting, challenging, and highly emotional journey into the US Foster Care system. Something that I quite frankly didn’t understand until I started spending time with our subjects and spending time at a “GROUP HOME” in New York City for youth in the system. The home is run through an organization called Good Shepard, and they are dedicated to helping these girls in every way possible. These girls have become my heroes, they are inspiring in so many ways. They are dedicated to bettering their lives and taking advantage of opportunities that come their way, such as education and art. They have faced so many hardships and challenges, “care” is not an easy situation. I am grateful for their bravery, and telling their stories to help other youth foster members get through their journey. 

These are some statistics from the internet about the US Foster Care System you might not have known….
  • CURRENTLY 400K+ CHILDREN IN THE US FOSTER CARE SYSTEM 
  • 50% OF GIRLS IN FOSTER CARE ARE PREGNANT BY THE AGE OF 19 
  • 74% OF INMATES IN US PRISONS WERE IN FOSTER CARE 
  • 50% OF FOSTE CARE CHILDREN ARE INCARCERATED WITHIN 2 YEARS AFTER THEY “AGE OUT” 
  • NEARLY 50% OF ALL CHILDREN IN FOSTER  CARE NEVER GRADUATE HIGH SCHOOL 
  • 7 OUT OF 10 HOMELESS IN NYC WERE ONCE IN FOSTER CARE 

This documentary is being filmed by a a renouned female director, Chris Hegedus. Chris was nominated for an Academy Award for The War Room (a behind the scenes documentary about President Bill Clinton). The film won the National Board of Motion Pictures prize for Best Documentary. Chris also won the Directors’ Guild of America Award for Outstanding Directional Achievement forstartup.com film. Needless to say, she has a high level track record and is extremely talented. It’s been an absolute pleasure working with Chris and her production team. 

How did it all start? Good question.  Our Founder Kara Ross connected with a well known crochet artist @MadeByLondon for a collaboration during Art Miami 2017. We all instantly clicked, and London mentioned an art program she was really passionate about called “Foster Pride”. FP is an art program, teaching youth in foster care the art of crochet. This program allows students to return week after week and develop their talents, establish relationships, and build self-esteem in a supportive and nurturing environment. The significant, long-term relationships that Foster Pride educators develop with their students are a unique and powerful component of the organization. This mentoring is particularly important to young people who see countless adults drift in and out of their lives. One more amazing thing I have to mention, Foster Pride has established relationships with very well known retailers such as American Eagle, that allows the youth to create and sell their crochet pieces to earn a profit they get to keep. They partner with BRILLIANCE who donates countless amounts of yarn, and even get some training + trend forecasting workshops to help guide their talents and skills. THESE GIRLS ARE SOOOO GOOD! They make crochet scarves, hats, bra-lets, bathing suits, bags, baby clothes, sweaters, blankets and toys. Crochet is a very repetitive motion, it’s a therapeutic form of art. 

This 20 minute documentary short is an inside look into the “system”, the “group home”, and the Foster Pride organization as a whole. We are focusing on four subjects and one rockstar instructor who was previously a director at the group home and now is a crochet teacher for the Foster Pride program. The piece will be inspirational, uplifting, authentic, and positive. I hope it will inspire many people around the world and give them some context about the US Foster Care system  they did not previously know. These girls will NOT become another statistic. 

The series will premiere on Refinery29.com in Fall 2018 so stay tuned for more behind the scenes action. Follow along our filming journey on IG @Unleashed_World xo