A special thanks to Breeze Tonnesen, Island Housing Trust's Communications Director and the film's Executive Producer, for providing an introduction to the documentary short about their work.
We started working on the idea of producing a documentary short about our work here at IHT and the state of affordable housing on the island of Martha’s Vineyard in September 2017. We partnered with The Martha’s Vineyard Film Festival, another island non-profit, to tell a story in three parts: what happens to our families and friends when they don't have secure housing, how life transforms when they do and how our community can work together to solve this problem.
In our first story meeting we decided to make our beautiful island one of the main characters in the film. The talented filmmakers we worked with, Danielle Mulcahy and Ollie Becker, shot many, many hours of footage all over (and above) the island. We interviewed more than 21 participants including homeowners, renters, seasonal and year-round donors, workforce housing partners, housing experts, members of our board, community housing advocates, artists, builders and IHT staff.
Interestingly, everyone asked me for a script and in response I explained…"we want you to tell your story, in your words, from your heart”. In the end, we found ourselves with over 37 hours of footage! As it turned out, people couldn’t wait to tell us their stories! The idea of simply allowing people to tell us why this issue matters to them resulted in a film that is genuinely the story of our community now and what will happen to it if we don’t take action. The housing lottery footage at the end is at once joyful, heart breaking and very, very real. I was there that evening…I cried then and I still cry every time I watch the film.
We premiered the film at our 7th Annual Summer Benefit Brunch on July 8th. The film touched everyone who saw it that day and has since been shared all over the island and beyond. It helped us to raise over $400,000, making this year’s brunch our most successful fund raiser to date.
Breeze Tonnesen is the Communications Director at Island Housing Trust and "It Takes an Island" Executive Producer