Goodwill knows how to turn donated clothing into jobs for people in need. On Wednesday night about 80 people were able to see how five young filmmakers turned Goodwill’s work and mission into short films.

The Circle of Films private screening took place at the University of Southern Maine’s Abromson Community Education Center in Portland. The event included a reception and a directors’ discussion with Goodwill Northern New England President & CEO Anna Eleanor Roosevelt, who is the granddaughter of former President Franklin D. Roosevelt and first lady Eleanor Roosevelt.

The films range in length from one minute to more than 10 minutes. Each is unique, yet they all communicate a similar message of recycling, renewal and hope.

Before creating the films, the directors were given $2,000 and basic information about Goodwill. They were then told to go out and use their creativity to tell a story.

Sam Surprise of Surprise Advertising said the directors were off to a good start in filmmaking. He was particularly impressed with the way they used audio, which he said can be a crucial part of catching people’s attention.

“They’re using music really well,” Surprise told me.

The directors’ discussion featured three of the filmmakers: Logen Christopher, who directed “Circles,” Stuart Townsend, who directed “New Wheels,” and Jeff Griecci, who directed two shorts called “Coming Full Circle.”

When Roosevelt asked the directors how they approach storytelling, Christopher replied: “I try to connect on a really personal level.”

After Roosevelt asked what led the directors to say yes to the project, Griecci said: “The fact that I had a budget for something I could write and produce.” Typically when he’s given a budget, Griecci said, it’s to execute a client’s vision and he doesn’t have much creative leeway.

Roosevelt also asked the directors what they learned from the experience. Townsend said he “learned a lot of technical stuff. And I learned more about Goodwill. I didn’t know anything about programs beyond the store.”

Before the screening, Goodwill community relations manger Kimberly Curry read a beautiful essay called “Goodwill’s Virtuous Circle.” The essay traces the impact of someone donating a single shirt to Goodwill.

First off, “the fibers that made the fabric, the dyeing that made the colors, the plastic that made the buttons, the energy that ran the looms and sewing machine, the human labor that created that shirt — none of those materials or that energy has to be expended again,” Curry read.

The essay goes on to discuss Goodwill’s employment programs.

“As our programs succeed in getting people into the work force, those people earn money that they spend in their communities. As they gain independence, they may become less reliant on social services and even on our own programs, which makes room for others who need help,” Curry read.

The essay concludes with someone buying the donated shirt, wearing it to a job interview and landing the job.

Ultimately that person is able to buy new clothes that will eventually be donated to Goodwill.

“The virtuous circle begins anew. And nothing goes to waste — not a shirt, not a shoe, not a person,” Curry read to the crowd in Hannaford Hall.

“Every time I see them, I see something new,” Roosevelt told me. “One of the most delightful things is working with these young filmmakers. It’s very hopeful. It makes you feel good about the future.”


Staff Writer Avery Yale Kamila can be contacted at 791-6297 or at:

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