Q&A with "Give Back" Producer and Director, Marc Marriott
There is so much suffering around the world, in every country. It’s easy to be so overwhelmed by serious needs everywhere that we often overlook service opportunities that can be done in our own backyard.
With a new film series recently launched by LDS Charities called “Give Back,” producers hope to change that. While filming stories of service that LDS Charities is involved in around the world, producers hope to inspire individuals to be more aware of their own neighbors and to look for ways to give back at home.
LDS Charities seeks to “relieve suffering and foster self-reliance” around the world by providing service training for healthcare workers, donating wheelchairs, building clean water resources in remote countries, and providing immunizations and other health resources to those in need—regardless of nationality or religion.
Director and producer of the new series, Marc Marriott, commented that “what we’re trying to do is tell intimate stories of individuals receiving and giving service. It’s not so much about the organization, but it’s about inspiring people to do what they can to serve in their own communities.
… We are trying to create stories that anyone would relate to and feel an emotional connection [with].”
Marriott, along with a film crew, set out around the world to find such stories. The crew would coordinate with national service organizations on the ground, as well as with LDS service missionaries in the areas to find individuals and families to film. So far, they have filmed stories of service in the Philippines, Jordan, Lebanon, Kurdistan, and Romania, with more locations to come later this fall.
The first episode in the series, released two weeks ago, is about a 12-year-old Syrian refugee named Nadia. While her family was fleeing from their war-torn home country, Nadia was shot in the back, leaving her paralyzed from the waist down. Now in a refugee camp in Jordan with limited mobility to continue her active pre-teen life, a tear-filled Nadia laments, “I had a beautiful life. Now I have no life.”
Marriott and his crew coordinated with Islamic Relief as well as LDS Charities service missionaries to find out how best to serve Nadia and her family. Among clothing and other materials given to her family, the one thing that would change their lives the most was a wheelchair for their little girl, to hopefully give her back some of that “beautiful life” that she had talked about. The scene in the video when Nadia and her new chair are united for the first time will definitely warm your heart.
Marriott says that Nadia’s story particularly resonated with him because he has a 12-year-old daughter himself, and it just struck a chord with him. Upon completion of filming, Marriott returned home to his family in California for the Thanksgiving season last year and was struck by all of the blessings he had been given in this life, particularly a healthy daughter. He said that realizing that, he was motivated to look for ways to help others like Nadia.
“I think a series like this helps us to be more aware. These are stories that are often filmed halfway around the world, but they are relatable. As individuals, that’s what makes our own lives rich is when we find someone else that needs our help—it blesses both of us.”
To find ways that you can serve in your own community and beyond, visit ldscharities.org
Stay tuned for more episodes of “Give Back” airing monthly on the Mormon Channel’s YouTube channel.