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Behind the scenes

Profile image for By John D. Harden / Staff Writer
By John D. Harden / Staff Writer

New York film company puts spotlight on local nonprofits

Olive Tree Pictures, a New York-based film company, is meeting up with a few area nonprofits this week and next week to tell their stories through short documentary-style trailers.

The film company’s officials said they decided to visit the county after their development director and Denton resident Susan Carol Davis suggested the idea.

Davis moved to Denton five months ago from California, and she said she quickly became interested in many of the area’s nonprofit organizations that support the community and its residents for little to no cost.

“It’s quite remarkable — the work that these companies do,” Davis said.

Olive Tree Pictures will be in the area filming through July 19. The company is scheduled to visit with Serve Denton, SpiritHorse Theraputic Riding Center of Corinth and the Denton Community Health Clinic.

Olive Tree Pictures is a nonprofit, but the organizations that are being filmed have agreed to make donations to the film company in exchange for its services.

Davis said Olive Tree Pictures provides professional-level services that would normally cost thousands of dollars.

“Many nonprofits need a visual piece that can be shown anywhere,” she said. “Many don’t have the resources to show what they can do.”

The film crew flew into Texas on Monday and met with officials at Denton Community Health Clinic on Tuesday morning to document its services.

“We decided to film the clinic because they provide services to people based on their needs,” Davis said.

The film crew interviewed officials and patients, who gave testimonies praising the clinic’s services.

“It’s an amazing opportunity for us,” said Alice Masciarelli, clinic director. “I’ve wanted to make a video for some time now, but I just haven’t gotten around to it.”

Masciarelli said she hopes the video will help promote some of the clinic’s newest services, which were funded by a grant from the Flow Health Care Foundation.

The clinic began providing various services at Our Daily Bread, a community soup kitchen that serves weekday lunches to the hungry and homeless in Denton.

Some of the services the clinic now provides include free preventive care screenings, ophthalmology services and dental care to area diabetics. Other screenings include mammogram referrals, prostate exams and tests for diabetes, anemia and cholesterol levels.

“This is in addition to the medical services we already provide,” Masciarelli said.

Olive Tree Pictures was founded a little more than two years ago by director Patricia Denson, who used to work as a documentary director and producer for ABC News.

Denson said she developed the idea to start the nonprofit in her master’s thesis that she submitted at Regent University in Virginia.

She said her thesis was about the advantages that documentaries have to empower the work of ministries and nonprofit organizations that perform life-transforming work.

The idea was met with mixed reviews from professors, but one professor encouraged her to turn her research into reality, she said.

“That professor now sits on our board,” Denson said.

Denson and Davis said they want to continue making videos in the area, and Denson said interested companies or individuals can contact Olive Tree Pictures by visiting

Olive Tree has continued to grow and receive an influx of work, Denson said. The company has released at least five documentaries and several short films that document issues across the U.S. and Africa that can be viewed on the organization’s website.

Denson said her mission is to tell the stories of people and organizations that change the world.

“With exposure comes knowledge,” Denson said. “We want people to see the flood of possibilities that the world and community around them have.”

JOHN D. HARDEN can be reached at 940-566-6882and via Twitter at @JDHarden.