February 20, 2009 | Myrna Anderson

This weekend, the documentary, “Hope of the Quechua,” a Calvin professor and his students filmed in an Ecuadoran mountain village will be seen by a public television audience.

This weekend, a documentary a Calvin professor and his students filmed in an Ecuadoran mountain village will be seen by a public television audience. “The Hope of the Quechua,” which has won multiple awards since its release in 2007, will be shown on WGVU at 10:30 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 22.

Cause for celebration

“I was really surprised,” said Blake De Young, a recent Calvin graduate who helped film the documentary on site in Ecuador. “We’re going to have all these people over and have a party.”

“Hope of the Quechua” shows the Christian Reformed World Relief Committee (CRWRC) model of community development at work in Quechua mountain community of Illagua Chico. Shot over a two-week period in June 2006, the film is a sensitive portrayal of an emergent Christian community as it grapples with religious, economic and human rights issues.

The documentary—which the CRWRC currently uses for fund-raising purposes—shows the residents of Illagua Chico farming, spinning wool, developing a crafts industry and making cheese. It also shows the community’s leaders talking about the need for education, the role of women and the struggle with local prejudice.

Many honors

The film has won several awards since it release, including, in recent months, three 2008 Silver Davey awards from the International Academy of the Visual Arts and Advertising Age magazine. “They’re the bigwigs. They’re HBO. They’re MTV. They’re Wired,” said Brian Fuller, the Calvin communication arts and sciences professor who helmed “Hope of the Quechua,” of the Academy. “They know something about production values.”

The Daveys honor films that are created on limited budgets, and “Hope of the Quechua” was recognized in the “Fundraising Films,” “Non-Profit/Charitable Films” and “Religious/Spiritual Films” categories. Fuller likes the focus of the awards: “I think a lot of our media production students here think that they’re destined for Hollywood, when, in truth, that’s such a small slice of the media production picture,” he said. “A lot of them are headed for work in commercial filmmaking, industrial filmmaking and advertising. And the truth is, if our goal as Reformed filmmakers is to renew culture, I think these are more likely avenues.”

“Hope of the Quechua” won another honor this year that was especially gratifying for Fuller. The film was named a semi-finalist for the Bosscher-Hammond Prize, an award from InterVarsity Christian Fellowship USA that recognizes “the integration of faith, learning and practice.”

“While other awards say, ‘Hey, you made a great film, the Bosscher-Hammond Prize says you taught students a discipline while deepening their faith,” Fuller said.

For the sake of his student collaborators on the film (who included 2007 Calvin grad Drew Barrow) Fuller is excited about another distinction for “Hope of the Quechua”: the documentary was recently listed in the Internet Movie Database (IMDb).

“I think that will be a feather their caps,” Fuller said of DeYoung and Barrow.

“That was probably cooler than being on PBS,” DeYoung agreed.

Professor Brian Fuller, director of “The Hope of the Quechua”

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