The rain wouldn’t stop.
I was standing inside my house and I could hear it pelting the kitchen window. The news in the background told me what I already knew, Hurricane Harvey was dumping an ocean on the city of Houston and flooding our house.
Tears were flowing from my children’s eyes as water continued to seep in every direction.
Today's story is written by Ali Kashi, Producer for Team Houston, about his experience of Hurricane Harvey and what this story means to him.
I was surrounded and I was helpless to stop it.
Fear crept in as fast as the water onto the floors. It was no longer safe to stay. I needed to get my family to dry ground.
So, I grabbed my wife, our kids and whatever belongings we could hold and made our way out the door.
With my daughter wrapped tightly around my neck, I took the first step off our front porch and my foot sunk into what was once our flower bed. We waded across our front lawn, the cold water filling my boots and eventually reaching my hips. When we finally made it to my neighbor’s house, the kids collapsed in exhaustion on the floor of the formal dining room.
Five days later, I received a text from my neighbor: "The water is gone, you can come home now."
I was terrified of what we would find. When I walked into what once was my home, the smell of standing water made me nauseated. Damage was everywhere. There was so much to repair, to clean, to rebuild. Once again, the now familiar fear crept back into my life.
But before long, family, friends, and volunteers started to appear at my doorstep. They joined us in the demolition and repair of our house.
At one moment, while taking a break, I realized that I was feeling something new. I was optimistic about what was to come. Something had changed inside me, from fear of losing everything to a newfound courage to face the unknown.
A few months later, Muse Film School came on to my radar. It was a chance for filmmakers from around the world to come together to tell stories about remarkable people. And they were coming to MY city!
I wanted to give back to my community for all the help I'd received. More than volunteering my time or some money, I felt like I could do so much more to give back by creating a powerful film.
I'd made slideshows for my family in the past, and I'd always had the dream of making films and telling stories. I didn't want to be a Hollywood director, but I wanted to be a part of creating a story that mattered.
I'll be honest, as the storyfinding started, no matter how much we were asked to remove our biases, I wanted a story that included Hurricane Harvey. I'd survived, I'd been so moved by others who helped us make it through, and I wanted to tell one of those stories.
I Got Interviewed!
I got the chance to get interviewed on day one about my experience of Hurricane Harvey.
Then comes character pitch day. Each team member has two minutes to pitch the person, and story, they've found. Out of that, the team votes on which one to continue to develop and, ultimately bring to life.
Of the six stories pitched, one included Hurricane Harvey. And I'll tell ya, I went to the mat for that story. I think the team could see how personal it was to me, how much I wanted it, but in the end they stood up for what they felt was the best story.
And I'm so, so very glad they did.
The character we chose, Isha Disselle, had sold EVERYTHING she owned, including her home, to give back to the homeless.
While I was surely hesitant at first, it only took a few meetings with Isha before any doubt went away.
As Jamie Honce, our director said "she made me believe in people again".
Getting A Slide In
I got to take a break from producing to shoot a few sweet, yet relevant, slider shots on the Scarlet. I was giddy!
Ironically, I got into this thinking I wanted to tell a story about Harvey. What I found was a story of hope, and a story of giving. That, more than anything else, what what I experienced in making it through Harvey–and this story couldn't have been more perfect for me to be a part of.
WATCH ALI AND TEAM HOUSTON'S FILM IN SEASON 2 OF THE REMARKABLE ONES!
If you enjoyed our film, please help us make the most impact possible and share it with somebody you know who would be moved by the story.
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“What if she was my mother?” This is what Isha Desselle thought when she saw the face of the homeless woman on the street.
That nagging thought kept her awake for months – and Isha decided to do something about it. This is the story of how she found a way to make a change, and help thousands of elderly homeless people finally find a place to call home.
Produced by a global team of filmmakers as part of Muse Film School (musefilmschool.org) for the original web-series The Remarkable Ones (theremarkableones.org).
A FILM BY MUSE STORYTELLING AND ISHA DESSELLE
DIRECTED BY JAMIE HONCE
PRODUCER ALI KASHI
CO-PRODUCED BY MADELINE SAPORITO
DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY JOE DRENNAN
AUDIO ED KAISER
SECOND CAMERA RICK UNDERHILL
EDITOR ED KAISER
EXECUTIVE PRODUCER DOUG DARLING
EXECUTIVE PRODUCER PATRICK MOREAU
EXECUTIVE PRODUCER KATHRYN GIROUX