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Nonprofits’ efforts make world better

Olive Tree Pictures, a New York-based film company, has been in Denton meeting with area nonprofit organizations to tell their stories through short documentary-style trailers, and judging from comments by the film company founder, the results could provide the nonprofits with a powerful marketing tool.

Patricia Denson, a former documentary director and producer for ABC News who founded Olive Tree Pictures a little more than two years ago, said her mission is to tell the stories of people and organizations that change the world.

In our view, there are many Denton County nonprofit organizations that “change the world,” at least for clients who have few if any other resources when they need help, and we can see where a quality video would be a great asset in helping them tell their stories.

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

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

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

“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.”

Olive Tree Pictures is a nonprofit, but organizations that are being filmed have agreed to make donations to the film company in exchange for its services, which are professional-level and would normally cost thousands of dollars, Davis said.

One of the film crew’s first stops was Denton Community Health Clinic to document its services. The film crew interviewed officials and patients.

“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.

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.

Olive Tree Pictures will be in the area filming through Friday and is also scheduled to visit with Serve Denton and SpiritHorse Therapeutic Riding Center of Corinth.

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

Denson and Davis said they want to continue making videos in the area, and we hope they are able to do so. We also encourage other filmmakers to consider doing what they can to help nonprofits tell their stories.

We realize that such projects can be expensive and nonprofits can’t afford much to cover marketing costs, but it’s to everyone’s advantage if we find a way to support their efforts.

It’s not often that you get an opportunity to tell a story that changes the world.