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Beyond Belief: Community Producer Cadre Rocks Flatland

Contribution of young producers to faith project recognized

I hope you enjoy the promo above that was shot and conceived by the Beyond Belief producer cadre.

I’m pleased and proud to recognize the contributions of this group of young Kansas City filmmakers and writers who have been the heart and soul of Beyond Belief. You can read all about them in an article published May 5 on Flatland, KCPT’s digital magazine.

Let me take you behind the scenes to a moment that speaks to me about their commitment, backgrounds, and lives in a way that I wouldn’t have understood before I came to Kansas City in late October.

I worked hard to make sure that the pool of young producers we had available to choose from was a reflection of Kansas City’s population. That meant making calls and pursuing contacts, going to film festivals, approaching people at events and putting out the word that we were committed to a student producer cadre of diverse backgrounds and talents.

For me, this is about assembling a pool of talent and picking the best people who are different one from another, who are different from me, and who may not have felt that the doors of public media were open to them as creators and makers.

So, once I had my group, I was thrilled that their skills, talents, and backgrounds matched what we were trying to create. I made the calls to tell them they were selected, and got quick responses from all but one of my team.

Cleveland Neal is a veteran who served two tours in Iraq. He says in the article you’ll read on Flatland that he battles PTSD and is making progress putting his life back together, as he pursues his goal of being a filmmaker. So why wasn’t he calling back to accept my offer?

A few hours later I knew why. He’d seen a family member gunned down on the streets of Kansas City, Kansas and was dealing with the aftermath. There were more important things in his life than our project. I know there has been plenty we’ve accomplished this year that couldn’t have been done without Cleveland — and the other members of our cadre — and I’m grateful to them for making room in their lives for Beyond Belief.

We’re working full speed ahead on our Beyond Belief documentary, to air on June 23 on KCPT at 7:30pm. All I have to do is get it done. And stand by to save the date for an event in mid-June to celebrate the short film and all we’ve accomplished.

Steve Mencher
Producer, Beyond Belief
From Localore: Finding America