Background 

Stefan Hunt is a young producer who pioneered his dream career from his passion. What started in a small Mexican town as a simple blog, grew to what is now the successful and well-recognised production company, GoodCheer.

Back in 2006 Stefan and mate Jonno Durrant were filming their first documentary around The States (Surfing50States) before heading down to Mexico where they filmed Somewhere Near Tapachula. GoodCheer Production company started 2 years later in Mexico during this second project.

The purpose of GoodCheer was simple, and continues today – to leave you with a smile. From simple beginnings they have evolved into a creative community dedicated to sharing stories that inspire.

The company has now grown to five members – Stefan Hunt (Producer/Director/Editor), Jonno Durrant (Producer/Editor), Campbell Brown (Camera Man), Ed Worland (OXBLVD Music), Courtney Hunt (Marketing).

Essentially, they are a full service production company who strive to inspire change through creativity.

They use their passions of film, photography, art & music to connect, educate and empower an audience. Goodcheer is a full service production house, with experience in online video, TV commercials and documentaries, offering a range of services to businesses, non profits & organisations both locally & globally.

Clients include BMW, Hurley, Bing, Warner Music, Universal, Westpac and Gorilla Surf, among others.

Staying true to their core values has allowed them to create more than a company, they have created a movement.

Their passion is sharing unique stories that capture, educate and inspire an audience. They believe in the goodness of everyone, and aspire to collaborate with those who strive to make a difference.

SOMEWHERE NEAR TAPACHULA

Somewhere Near Tapachula follows the stories of 54 ctapahildren in an orphanage in Mexico, called Mision Mexico, a children’s refuge founded by Australia couple Pam and Alan Skuse. Most of these children have come from lives of poverty, trauma and abuse. Somewhere Near Tapachula looks at the unique surf community that they have pioneered in Tapachula and the phenomenal impact the surfing experience has had on the children, creating an escape from their unimaginable pasts. It is an inspiring story of love, life and hope.

Since its release Somewhere Near Tapachula has raised over $100,000.00 for Mision Mexico and been accepted into over 30 film festivals worldwide, receiving 3 awards and several nominations.

Development

The initial concept for Stefan and Jonno was to not only share these inspiring stories but also raise awareness and a support network for the orphanage. Stefan and Jonno  were touring Surfing 50 States through North American winter and Stefan just wanted to go somewhere warm, when we heard these kids surfed; it sounded like a fun place.

Stefan volunteered  at the orphanage for a month before calling on Jonno to join him and start this project. In this time he was able to develop a relationship with the children and observe their daily lives.

Stefan reflects that the kid’s development with surfing became a focal theme throughout the documentary, which was used to spin light on these horrific stories and allow the audience to connect or relate to these kids in some way.

The project took around nine months in total. This included one month pre-production, two month filming and six months post-production which was done back in Australia. Both, Stefan and Jonno undertook numerous roles including producing, directing and editing to bring the documentary together.

Funding

This film was completely non-profit and was very low-budget. As Stefan and Jonno were already volunteering at the orphanage, expenses like food and board were already covered. Stefan and Jonno were also fortunate enough to build a relationship with surfing companies including Walking On Water, a Christian Surf Filmmaking, Hurley and Global Surf Industries during their initial documentary. This help fund production costs including camera equipment and tour costs. Guzman y Gomez Mexican Taqueria also had a relationship with the orphanage and also helped with funding.

Challenges

somewhereneartapachula

Camera gear was in Australia so they had to borrow camera gear from America. This mean they were not using their own equipment and needed to get used to the new gear. Due to the lack of finances  they had limited resources to work with and had to be as creative as possible.

The main challenges they faced during the production were both their social and ethical responsibilities. Although Stefan had already spent a month in the village, language was still a big challenge that they had to work around. In addition, they had to build a strong relationship with the subjects and make sure not only that they felt comfortable expressing themselves on screen but were also happy to share their story. Some of the subject matters were quite confronting so they had to find the right balance. 

Working with 54 kids and a camera crew is another challenge in any environment.  This was a new and exciting experience, having camera around the kids so it was sometimes difficult to make sure the kids were not playing up to the camera, they wanted to capture a ‘real’ experience and 54 kids together with camera would sometimes be a little over dramatised due to excitement.

Also, not being a ‘scripted’ project meant Stefan and Jonno had to make things up as they went which meant planning ahead was limited. They had to work with what was presented to them on a daily basis.

Finally, trying to market the project and gain interest was another significant challenge. This was a relatively unknown subject matter and knowing ‘who’ and ‘where’ to market the documentary to was also difficult. There was no set target market as the project developed out of their own interest.
Marketing/Distribution

GoodCheer aligned themselves with the surf industry, Hurley & GSI, who helped to fund the tour. Stefan and Jonno had to be as creative as possible which included a national tour around Australia with a band, attending surfing carnivals and film festivals where they could feature the project. They did live screenings around the country from packed out cinemas to small backyard BBQ with a movie projection. They also did a small tour around The States.

Somewhere Near Tapachula premiered at Sydney Dendy Opera, then traveled around NSW, QLD, ACT, SA and VIC.

Stefan and Jonno were ecstatic with the response and were able to establish a Future Fund for Mision Mexico.mision mexico

Other Projects by GoodCheer

MisFit Aid

In March 2013 Goodcheer was invited to West Timor with our good friends at Misfit Aid to capture the official recon trip to Atambua, a community of refugees in need of support. Over the next 5 years Misfit Aid have set some exciting goals which include safe housing, clean water and community centres for schooling and healthcare. We created a short video to communicate this message and inspire people to get involved.

Boy & Bear (Behind the scenes)

Goodcheer teamed up with Universal Records and Mordare to check out the latest with Boy & Bear as they prepare to release their new single Part Time Believer.

Surfing 28 States: India

A HD Travel Series exploring the colour, craziness and characters of all 28 states of India! Best mates Jonno and Stefan make it their mission to not only surf in innovative and hilarious places, but connect with the locals along the journey and experience the real India. This wacky 6 part series premiered November 2012 in the USA on Outside Television.

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