by Jen Araki on June 17th, 2015

We Gotta Get Out of Here – Two years

Michael during production

Not his graduation day, but an early shot of Michael during production.

Two years.

It’s been two years since directors Brook Whitmore and Jen Araki took their idea for a story about kids aging out of LA’s foster care system and started turning it into a feature-length documentary film.

The earliest days were…a learning experience. With no camera, sound or production equipment to speak of, Jen and Brook turned to Jen’s family who were happy to send a camera to the duo. Jen and Brook were just about to shoot their very first footage—Mike’s high school graduation—and the loaned equipment arrived just in time. Their enthusiasm gave way to bewilderment, however, after finding an ancient camera in the box from Jen’s parents—the kind of camera that records to VHS tapes.

Undaunted, the two forged ahead, determined to make their film.

Mike’s graduation day was perfect—the weather was beautiful and the new, two-person filmmaking team was able to shoot the ceremony from start to finish without any major issues…or so they thought. A few hours after returning home, Jen called Brook to give him the news: they hadn’t recorded any sound.

Remember when we said this was a learning experience?

Jen and Brook decided, from that point forward they needed to bring on more people to help with the work. They soon brought in Director of Photography Alex Pollini who helped to shoot much of the footage. Seven months into the process, Producer Sylvia Sether joined the team and has since contributed countless hours of producing, shooting and, just generally being there.

Now, working alongside the newest team member, editor Chris Goldade, We Gotta Get Out of Here is close to picture lock. The entire WGGOOH team wants this film to serve as a catalyst to help the foster care community. We have strategically aligned with organizations to help make that happen.

We are honored to have the opportunity to film Benson, Ty, Mike, Tiffany and Teejay and because of their courage their stories will change the lives of other foster youth.

We’re also grateful for all of the people who have become involved in this project and lent their time and energy over the past two years—there are a lot of you! We can’t wait to share the film with you and thank you all for your support on this two year journey!

-The We Gotta Get Out of Here Team