Our writer/director Paco Arango is committed to making films that both entertain and can be a force for good in the world.
Many years ago Paco created a Spain-based charitable organizarion called the Fundacion Aladina (http://www.aladina.org/eng/index.php) to help children fight cancer. With proceeds from his debut film, MAKTUB he was able to build one of Europe’s most advanced bone-marrow transfer centres, the Maktub Center at Madrid’s Niño Jesús Hospital.
Paco also sits on the Board of Directors of the Serious Fun Children’s Network, founded more than two decades ago by legendary actor Paul Newman to provide seriously ill kids with a chance to simply be children. The organization comprises a growing global community of independently managed and financed camps and programs that help children and families “reach beyond illness to discover joy, confidence and a new world of possibilities – always free of charge.”
When it came time to decide how to earmark proceeds from THE HEALER, Paco didn't hesitate, and we're proud to announce that THE HEALER has earmarked a large portion of its proceeds to benefit the Serious Fun Children’s Network. We are very much looking forward to set visits from Paul's daughter Clea Newman and Bob Forrester, CEO and President of Newman's Own.
Paco and I are thrilled to be able to do this, and we notice that the initiative is also having a positive effect on both our cast and crew who are that much more energized by the thought that we're not just making "another" film, but one that will help kids around the world have fun outside of the movie theatre!
Paco and I – along with our Director of Photography, Javier Aguirresarobe – recently attended a gala event for the charity in Los Angeles, where I learned vividly throughout the evening how the intense pursuit to solve a child’s medical problem can often rob them of their childhood, as much as the illness itself.
The gala was held at The Kodak Theatre on Hollywood Boulevard, where the Academy Awards are held every year. The place was packed despite being large enough to hold 3,400 people. And boy, did they put on a show. Carole King sang, as did Natalie Cole. Danny DeVito was there, along with Renée Zellweger, Annette Bening and Angelica Houston, amongst other celebrities. But the real stars of the evening were the 20 or so kids from the camps who also performed. All were wonderful; some were truly amazing. At one point the kids joined Burt Bacharach and together sang his legendary “Raindrop Keeps Falling On My Head.” I can’t remember how many standing ovations there were throughout the evening. It was magical.
A similar event was recently held in New York. I'm sorry I missed that as I might have been reunited with Tom Hanks with whom I started my career serving as his coffee boy on a film!
The event in LA was a wonderful reminder that making films is a privilege. That making them with people you personally like is a joy, and that doing so to benefit a cause that matters is sheer perfection.
What more could we possibly ask for?
If you feel so inclined, you can donate to the Serious Fun Children’s Network here: seriousfunnetwork.org/donate