ONLY ON 10 News: Man travels to Philippines to find in-laws
Melanie Michael - Reporter WTSP Tampa
Largo, Florida - It is a story of compassion, hope, and love.
Brent Dunn made the ultimate sacrifice for his wife, Liza, who was born and raised in the Philippines. He traveled all the way across the world for nearly three days to find his in-laws and bring them food and water.
The tears came quickly for Brent as he described the mass graves and devastation there.
Brent cried, "One grave has 15 bodies in it, body bags, some people covered, some not. And, the smell was overwhelming. I almost got sick. We have family in there."
Brent said it was a miracle his mother-in-law survived. But, his wife's cousin lost his entire family. His wife and two children, one of them handicapped, vanished in the water.
Brent described the moment the man lost his child. "He couldn't hold his son," he stopped for a moment, wiping away tears. "They were washed away."
What the father-of-two found in the Philippines, he said, was a war zone -- dead bodies in the streets, people starving, no electricity, and no water.
In The News
Tampa area film maker and director, Brent Dunn is in the middle of a Documentary Fiilm project called,
"Waiting for a Miracle" The film is about his journey to find his wife's family in the Philippines after Typhoon Haiyan (also known as Yolanda) slammed into Tacloban City, killing thousands.
"We lost all contact with our family, we didn't know for over a week if they had survived. It was torture. We reached out on a facebook page located in Tacloban for any information. Finally after getting confirmation that some survived, I got on a plane with suitcases and a box full of food, supplies, and water filtration systems, bound for the Philippines. I had no idea after I got to Manila, how I would get to Tacloban, which is located on another island hundreds of miles to the south." "I couldn't sit back and wait anymore, I had to do something"
Amazingly, donations started pouring in to help him get to the Philippines. "A friend of mine donated his frequent flier miles so I could get a plane ticket, Friends, co-workers, and complete strangers, including a Katrina survivor, donated through . This website helped me connect with my thousand plus Facebook friends through a blog on the site. I was able to post photos and updates about my trip."
After over two months, they still do not have electricity or running water in most of Tacloban and other villages throughout the provinces of Leyte and Samar. The streets were cleared of debris through a cash for work program that paid locals to clean up after the disaster. This put money into the pockets of many who now do not have any work or businesses to go to. This gave many money to buy food and help rebuild destroyed homes.
Food and clean water are being distributed, but he people of Tacloban continue to struggle with the basics. Brent said; "So far, the only relief supplies they've recieved are rice, water, and sardines. Come on, how long can you survive on just sardines? Our family are lucky, we have the means to help them buy food. But many do not have anyone, or lost their entire familes and home. They are living on the street, in a tent, or evacuation center."
After such a tragedy, you may wonder, how do people go on with their lives? After loosing your entire family and home, how do you cope? Brent say's this is what pours from the film "Waiting for a Miracle." "People are smiling, joking, laughing. They are trying to put the pieces back together. They are a very strong group of people. I love the Filipino people. They welcomed me and shared there stories, no matter how painful." The future of the film focuses on rebuilding efforts.
This is a crowdfunded film, which means, donatations are what will make this a successful film. If you've always wanted to part of a film, here's your chance. "Donations can be made a many levels. Every dollar helps tremendously." Depending on your donation level, you may see your name in the credits, be a VIP at the Premier of the film, have dinner with the Director, Brent himself, or take a trip to Tacloban to help Brent provide school supplies to the schools of Tacloban.
"It's expensive to fly all the way to the Philippines, stay their for weeks, and do it again months later. The funding will help pay these expensive, editing, color grading, and sound mastering. You may also receive a copy of the final film on BluRay, DVD, or Digital Download, once the film is released. This is too important of a film. I am hopeful the support of this film will allow me to accomplish great things. The stories need to be told and documented. I am forever grateful for the support I have already received and hope to keep the film moving forward."
"Waiting for a Miracle" is a documentary film about the tragedy of Typhoon Haiyan, which hit the Philippine city of Tacloban with over 200 mile per hour winds, destroying homes, and killing thousands.
This film documents the people of Tacloban and how many lost family members, friends, and co-workers to the storm surge. For a week, dead bodies lay in the streets, people walked like Zombies for hours to other towns, trying to find food and water. The film includes many interviews and stories of survivors and what they experienced. There is also continued footage 2 weeks after the storm and an effort to raise funds to travel multiple times to capture recovery efforts, including the government's response, or lack there of to rebuild the city and homes.
Documentary all about hope and survival
Crowd Funding Film Project Documents Tragedy in the Philippines