In 2013, nine-year-old California native Vivienne Harr discovered that there are 29.8 million people in slavery today, many of them children. Harr was determined to do something, and quickly started her own lemonade stand with the slogan, “Make a Stand Lemonade.” Harr originally had the goal of freeing 500 enslaved children, but has since touched countless lives and continues to raise money today through her mission.

Pretty endearing story, right? A group of upcoming and passionate filmmakers thought so, too. In February 2014, Stillmotion Productions released their first feature-length, independent documentary, #standwithme, a film telling Harr’s story and winning the hearts of viewers everywhere.

Since the premiere of #standwithme, Stillmotion has gone on to produce their second film, Old Skool Cafe, which tells the story of a San Francisco supper club run by troubled youth. The Old Skool Café gives youth who were never believed in the chance to serve others in meaningful ways. The supper club is equipped with live entertainment, gourmet meals and quality service by youth who once resorted to robbery, drug dealing and gangs for a sense of belonging and direction.

Founder Teresa Goines spent years as a corrections officer, witnessing the “revolving door” of youth turning in the wrong direction without the proper resources. Today, Goines runs the supper club but offers any position, business- or service-related, to the youth, standing by as their mentor and apprentice.

All she wants is for them to know that “we see the gold in [them] and we want other people to see the gold in [them],” Goines shared in her Old Skool Café interview for the Stillmotion team.

It’s inspiring stories like these that capture the hearts and attention of Stillmotion members. “We’re a small collection of curious, loud, trouble-making souls who believe that powerful stories can change the world,” the Stillmotion team shares on their website.

In response to such amazing stories, all I want to do is share them with the world. Although I have tried, rallying large quantities of people around my small, unimpressive TV to watch these documentaries with me, however, has been largely unsuccessful.

That is where Tugg comes in. Working in collaboration with filmmakers like Stillmotion, Tugg offers a resource for individuals interested in having an independent film played at one of their local theaters. Once contacted, Tugg sets up the entire event, an event page, promotional tools and plenty of guidance along the way. In addition, Tugg allows the host to choose a cause of their choice for a portion of ticket sale proceeds to go toward.

Thanks to Tugg, I will be hosting a showing of #standwithme at a local theater. Through Tugg support, I have been able to sell 93 tickets for the film and hope to host many events in the future.

– Heather Klosterman

Sources: #standwithme, Stillmotion, Tugg 1, Tugg 2
Photo: NBC Bay Area