ABOUT THE WRITER: Connor Benfield reads, writes and watches. He also bats at first drop.
Moacir Zeledon’s dream strays from typical boyish fantasies of superheroes and pirates. He wants nothing more than to escape his life of poverty and abuse in Nicaragua to live his dream in America. This mission introduces Moacir to an often-quoted aphorism: it is journeys, not destinations that define you.
I LOST MY DREAM is a short film chronicling the true story of Moacir Zeledon. Moacir’s journey is an uplifting anecdote in the greater narrative that is humankind’s pursuit of happiness. The film premiered online to the public, having already been awarded Best Picture at DC Adventure Film Festival in Washington and Best Short Documentary at Sydney’s Indie Film Festival.
Sydney-based director Stefan Hunt is responsible for I LOST MY DREAM, assembling a small team – including cinematographic duo Lee Kelley and Campbell Brown – and embarking on a journey with the goal of bringing Moacir’s story to the world. Stefan’s previous work includes a series called THE LAND OF, following a group of surfers through Thailand as they contribute to building projects at a Thai orphanage. Stefan is inspired to share the stories of the marginalized and less privileged members of society. “One of the larger projects I’ve worked on was a documentary called SOMEWHERE NEAR TAPACHULA,” Stefan says “That was when I met Moacir, and as soon as I heard his story I knew that I LOST MY DREAM needed to happen. SOMEWHERE NEAR TAPACHULA was a film that raised over $100,000 for children’s refuge Misión:México in 2010. That’s where Moacir was raised by Australian couple, Pam and Alan Skuse,” Stefan confirms. “I’m hoping that I LOST MY DREAM will continue to draw attention to the incredible work that they do in Mexico for Central American kids, and I would encourage anyone who is touched by the film to support Misión:México.”
Now a resident of the Sunshine Coast after being awarded a scholarship by Australian-owned Mexican restaurant Guzman Y Gomez to study there, Moacir has been floored by the experience that was I LOST MY DREAM. “It’s so crazy to see the last ten years of your life summed up in ten minutes,” Moacir says. And sharing the experience with Moacir has been the ultimate reward for the team behind the short film. “Screening the film for Moacir was the most special experience,” Stefan asserts. “When it finished, he just sat in silence. Eventually, he walked over to me and hugged me with a tear in his eye and smile on his face.”
The simplicity of Moacir’s response is representative of the fundamental beauty in Stefan’s film. Thematically, we could be forgiven for assuming I LOST MY DREAM is dominated by adversity and abandonment, but Stefan has managed to glean hope and positivity and implant it into the telling of this story. Perhaps the most emotive aspect of a film that is consistently tugging at the heartstrings is Moacir’s radiant smile. There stands a young man who came from devastatingly difficult circumstances, and is now educated and contributing positively to his community while leading a life that fills him with joy. He is only able to do these things because someone gave him a chance. If nothing else, I LOST MY DREAM is a timely reminder that we need to live with empathy and give people chances. When we do, they reward us – and the world.