Montezuma woman launches campaign to make movie, pave road

March 8, 2015

Some years ago, Kelly Mason, a filmmaker from Canada, received a “mystical message.” The message told her to move to Montezuma, a remote beach town on Costa Rica’s Nicoya Peninsula. Mason is not one to ignore mystical messages, so she did move to Montezuma, and she brought her two children with her.

Mason expected to land in paradise, and in some ways she did. But as soon as she arrived, the unpaved roads became a problem. Mason and her family quickly grew ill from the dust, and so did others in the community, especially the children, Mason says. She decided to try to change things with film and fundraising.

“There are more than 500 children inhaling massive amounts of toxic bacterial road dust daily,” says a statement in the trailer for the film, “Pave the Road.” According to Mason, this statement is based on doctors’ opinions gathered at the local Cóbano clinic, the Children’s Hospital in San José and a doctor at a private clinic.

The “Pave the Road” trailer is part of Mason’s Indiegogo campaign in which she is trying to raise $250,000 to finish the film and pave the roads in front of seven schools on the Nicoya Peninsula. The seven schools are: Escuela Futuro Verde, Hermosa, Santa Teresa, Cabuya, Delicias, San Isidro and Malpaís.

The trailer is full of interviews with locals from the community who tell stories of their children getting sick: some with asthma, some have been hospitalized and hooked up to IVs, and some have even been pulled out of school by their parents who have made the decision to sacrifice their children’s education for the benefit of their health.

“In the pharmacy, we notice when summer comes how the possibility of asthma increases for the people. The children have more respiratory infections or skin allergies from the excess dust,” says one pharmacist. Government officials, such as the director of the National Roadway Council, as well as doctors from around Costa Rica, are also expected to appear in the film.

Twelve days in, and with 35 to go, the campaign has only raised $1,205. On July 31, the deputy mayor of Cóbano gave her approval of the project and offered the use of the town’s machines for paving the roads.

When asked where the money goes, Mason said, “the nonprofit organization we are partnered with (From the Heart Productions) and Indiegogo combined take approximately a 10 percent commission on the total funds raised. We have allocated $50,000 for the film and $175,000 for the road. The first $25,000 goes to paving a road in front of one of the schools, the next $5,000 goes toward the film, the next $25,000 goes to another road, the next $5,000 to the film, and it works with that rhythm for the budget of $250,000. If we raise less than $25,000, then no roads get paved and the money goes towards completing the film.”

Donations to the “Pave the Road” campaign are tax deductible in countries that permit deductions for contributions to verified nonprofits. Like many other crowdfunding campaigns, there are several perks being rewarded for different levels of contributions. For more information, visit the “Pave the Road” website: http://www.pavetheroad.net/.

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