Read Hank and Jilann’s Sundance Film Festival blog,

written as they went through the rollercoaster experience of premiering a film at this world-renown documentary film competition for the first time.





Adventures in Fundraising #2: Full Circle

Twenty some odd years ago, Jilann and I made a film about Native American Elders called 'Bless Me With A Good Life'. Since this film was about an elderly population, we received a great deal of support from AARP. So now that we are fundraising for another film on old folks, I thought maybe we could go back to them. Maybe we could come full circle with this project and partner up with AARP again.

First thing I did was to see if our old contact was still there—after 20 years, if she was still there, she might be running the place by now! Well the switchboard did not know of her, and they weren't going to be able to search for her because 'the organization is too large to find all employees.' OK, that’s a paraphrase, but that was the sentiment. This is where I should have stopped. But me being the determined (relentless? persistent? stubborn?) type, I forged on into that documentary night in search of the funding needle amidst this corporate haystack.

I first went to the AARP website, and searched for my old contacts name. Nothing. Then I Googled her name, and found 2 females on Facebook that were not right. Not unless she had aged really quickly, or she had a bunch of work done.

Back I went to and located a number to call for the AARP Foundation. Sounded promising. I called. I left a message. No call back. So I called again a week later, and this time got a woman who referred me to their National Programs. OK. National sounded like a fit, with me being in New Mexico, the filming being in New Jersey, and AARP being in DC. Let’s try National.

From there it went like this:

National Programs in DC referred me to NY Sales and Marketing. NY Sales and Marketing volleyed me back to DC and the Editorial Department. The Editorial Department handed me on to Media Relations. Media Relations forwarded me on to the Integrated Communications Department (could this be corporate-speak for 'wasteland'?).

Here I got on the phone with the Secretary to the Executive VP of the Integrated Communications Department, who suggested I speak with the Chief Brand Officer.

After several calls which went to v.m., I did finally get a live one. She referred me to the web site. They have an on-line submission policy. All requests must come through this portal.

I was back where I started. At the web site. Indeed I had come full circle. Full circle down the rabbit hole of corporate buck passing. Full circle due to my own stubborness, my own conviction I was gonna get lucky. Well, it doesn’t hurt to try... Hank


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