28 Oct Moving Pictures | Sally Colon-Petree’s Emotional Film
A year after arriving in LA from Chicago, Sally landed a role in the dark comedy “Eight Heads in A Duffel Bag”, starring Joe Pesci & David Spade; followed by several guest starring roles on network television shows like “Friends”, “Suddenly Susan”, “Family Matters” and “Young and the Restless”, and several National commercials, as well as landing a coveted spot on the cover of“Woman’s World” magazine.
She was also part of a Latin girl group before moving into producing and hosting TV. She interviewed well known artists and showcased their latest music videos. As the show expanded, Sally was recruited by Grace Hill Media and travelled the country, eventually interviewing major movie stars such as Robert Duval, Jaime Lee Curtis, Kevin Kline, Cuba Gooding Jr, Beyonce Knowles, James Caan, Will Ferrell, etc. “Action House TV” quickly became the largest inspirational music video show in the country, potentially viewed in more than 250 million homes each week, which consequently led Sally to wining 2 Telly awards for her work as producer and host of the show.
In 2004, Sally and her husband, Stephen, started a production company called Dream On Productions. Her documentary ‘Women Like Us’ is set to be released in Spring 2015.
What prompted the documentary was that my mom died in 2014 and she always instilled in me the concept of giving back. There were a lot of things mom wanted to, but didn’t get done, and I said, I am not going repeat that outcome. What could have been tragic, and really knock me down, actually inspired me to do things I wanted to do – including a documentary.
At that time, I was working with the Women Like Us Foundation and they invited me on a trip to Kenya. I had the idea to do a documentary on all the great work the foundation is doing. Catt Sadler, the E! News host, is an award-winning journalist and she came with us, and agreed to be the narrator for the documentary.
As a group of 17 women and teen girls, our journey took us over dirt roads, past elephants, cheetahs and elephants, through beautiful forests and breathtaking plains. And we bonded as women, as we heard the stories of their dreams for a better world. We began to understand that we really all have the same goals, the same dreams, the same drives. We realized more than ever, that our passions are shared. It’s simply our stories that are singular.
First, Mama Margaret of Tenderfeet School, who visited us at our hotel to tell us of her perseverance and determination to educate children and give them the opportunity to leave the slums of Kibera and find a better world for themselves and their families. We weren’t able to see the children, as the Somali terrorists were on our route to her school, and we decided for safety reasons we shouldn’t go. We brought underwear, school supplies and toothbrushes for the children.
Then on to the Olmalaika Home where we met beautiful teen girls who are victims of FGM (female genital mutiliation) we walked to the river to help them carry water, we helped them bake their bread and wash their clothes in buckets and we sang and danced with them joyfully, as we bonded as only women can.
The Olmalaika Home received donations from our volunteers of toothbrushes, sack packs and school supplies donated from Office Depot Foundation and underwear.
N. A. NOEL PRESCHOOL
Next the N. A. Noel Preschool where we met 250 beautiful children who couldn’t stop touching and hugging us, and us them. We played sports, worked on art projects and brought musical instruments for fun. The school supplies we left behind, the shoes, the generator, the funds for a latrine and a truck only begin to help touch the lives of these many children, about 40 of which are affected with HIV.
Art supplies, musical instruments, school supplies from Office Depot Foundation and toothbrushes were donated to the children.
And finally, we traveled many hours to reach the Victorious Teens near Lake Nakuru. These teens were waiting for us. They had never met Americans. They prepared a program of informational speaking from the teachers and dancing and celebration from the students. Eventually the groups of teens broke off in circles to talk and share with our teen girls from the United States. The language was a barrier, but the hearts were certainly connected. Along with school supplies and more sack packs, the needs here were sanitary pads for the teen girls. This way they won’t miss 5-6 days of school each month which is a reason many drop out eventually. They simply get too far behind.
These women, these hearts, these connections will not be lost. Women Like Us believes in sustainability and support, not simply a one time connection and then on to other things. We’ve adopted all three of these Kenya programs. We’re spreading the word about your work, Kim DeWitt of Olmalaika Home, Nancy Noel and Mrs. Tom of N. A. Noel Preschool and Beth Wacera of Victorious Teens. We won’t forget you. We’ll be back.
I have one cool story from the trip. I wanted to get some political figures in the movie from Kenya. We happened to be staying in a lodge where they only had 18 rooms and our group took all the rooms up. When we got back one day from our daily outing, we saw a silver bullet helicopter in front of the hotel and wondered who was visiting the hotel. It turns out it was the former prime minister of Kenya and his wife. They said the former prime minister wanted to stay the night and the hotel asked us to give up one of our rooms. We said yeah, for sure.
We saw them at dinner that night and I decided to be bold and I introduced myself and asked if she would like to have a glass of wine with us and she said “why not?” She asked what we were doing there and I told her about the documentary and I asked if she would participate. And to my surprise, she said that she was leaving the next morning, but if we can have our cameras at her room at 7am, she would love to do it. I said to the group “I could not have planned this that well”
The next morning Catt did an amazing interview with her and as we were leaving, I invited her to the premiere in LA in March of 2015 and she said that with enough notice, she would love to attend.
How do you think people are going to be affected by the documentary?
What motivated me was to let women know, whoever they are, that they can do something and that if we all do a little bit of something, we can accomplish a lot together as women”
So I want to inspire women to watch the documentary and say to themselves and ask “what can I do” and not look away at things that are happening in their neighborhood and say someone else will take of that. I want them to say, no, “I am going to take care of it”
We expect the documentary to premiere in March of 2015 and if anyone would like to participate with the project, we would greatly appreciate any and all help and they can contact me directly at dreamonprod.com