In 2000, When we completed work on our first documentary, The Witness, we felt good about the story told by the film, but really had no idea how audiences would respond.
We were surprised and delighted when The Witness received the award for Best Documentary at its film festival premiere. It soon became a film festival favorite, winning nine more top awards as well as receiving enthusiastic reviews from both viewers and members of the press.
Touched by this story of one man's remarkable change of heart, people of all ages and backgrounds spontaneously began to take an active role in helping Tribe of Heart bring The Witness to a larger audience. In fact, so many people wanted to help in so many different ways, we often could not keep up!
By 2002, thousands of people had purchased copies of The Witness over the internet to share with their families and friends, along the way bringing the film to the attention of journalists, broadcasters, celebrities, and national political leaders. Enthusiastic viewers organized hundreds of public screenings in their communities, at local theaters, schools, university campuses, libraries, and places of worship. They also brought The Witness to international audiences, partnering with us to translate the film into many languages, an effort that continues to this day.
As awareness of The Witness grew, so did appreciation for the positive effect it was having on so many lives. A constant flow of useful suggestions and creative ideas helped us achieve an ever-larger impact. Donations came in to meet the need for developing outreach and educational programs for the film, and also enabled us to begin work on the Peaceable Kingdom project.
Needless to say, this experience completely changed the course of our lives. We have learned that when we work together in service of something larger and more important than ourselves, making a difference is far easier, and far more rewarding, than we ever imagined possible.
In the simplest terms, we have seen with our own eyes that one person's change of heart can truly change the world. And while our human society is often overwhelmed with cynicism, exploitation and violence, many small and simple but positive changes made by many people can become very powerful wave of transformation and peaceful change.
We invite you to join us on this journey of self-discovery and service in benefit of those who are most vulnerable, human and non-human alike. Along the way, we will learn so much, make many new friends, and share the joy of doing this much needed work.
Comments from viewers of Tribe of Heart films:
"I feel 'whole' after watching the film. It makes connections that I don’t encounter in everyday life. It made feel me larger than myself, like I am a part of something bigger."
"It's too easy to feel insignificant, and think that there's nothing one person is able to do to make a difference. Thank you for showing that that is not the case, and that every last action does help. It is truly a humbling realization."
-- PBS viewer
"I feel as though I have been walking around with a bag over my head and heart. Thank you for making The Witness. The difference those 45 minutes made in my perceptions are earthshaking for me. I would like to do more and have already asked everyone I know to watch it."
"It showed me how a 'normal' person can do his part -- they say a hero is someone who does 'what he can,' and I didn't realize it was so simple."
“Without question, some of the most moving, satisfying, and thoughtful discussions I have ever had in my 15 years of teaching Philosophy courses have come through showing The Witness. I have seen the defenses of even the most cynical students crumble as their hearts and minds open to a new way of relating to the world.”
"I’ve never been an animal lover, and I guess I always thought those who were were kind of crazy. This, however, changed my mind."
--film festival viewer
“I work with individuals with disabilities and strive to interact at all times with respect for their individual humanity. However I don’t extend that to the entire animal kingdom. This film finally challenged that disconnect. I’ve moved to a new consciousness again.”
--film festival viewer
“It encourages faith in humanity. Other than simply opening our eyes to this problem, it also shows us that it is possible to change what is socially acceptable.”
“Not only is ‘the journey home’ about our individual and collective journeys to truth and justice, but the animals’ journeys ‘home.’ They are our teachers if we will only listen -- hear them -- and learn. Maybe this is ‘the one’ that will awaken the collective. I can only hope.”
--film festival viewer