Carbon Trace Productions August Newsletter

Carbon Trace Productions August Newsletter

Welcome to another Carbon Trace Newsletter, 

the exclusive monthly E-mail for our outstanding viewers who strive to go deeper and learn more about humanity. Each month, I send you what the team believes is a potentially life-changing film idea in hopes you agree. This month, we have a lot on our plate. 

Let’s get into it.

(Note: If you enjoy this email, please consider forwarding it to someone who would get a lot out of it. If you were forwarded this email, you could sign up to receive it at the end of each month. It’s free. For more regular updates, join us on Facebook, Twitter, or become a Patron.)

We are proud to announce the completion of our 2020 student film Songs From the Street. This film is about so much more than the Springfield Street Choir growing in popularity. The choir helps form a sense of community and family within our town’s homeless population, showing audiences the joy to be had by those we typically ignore. We premiered the film for our VIP members and had four public screenings this month at the Moxie Cinema. A special VIP screening is planned for September 1st for the Springfield Street Choir themselves to see the film. Due to the popularity of the project, we are planning more public screenings soon.

The Missouri State University’s archive team and Carbon Trace staff have officially turned in the National Endowment for Humanities grant we have been working on for several months. The A Portrait of the Ozarks team won’t hear back about it until wintertime. Stay tuned. However, we will have a fundraiser for the project coming out in mid-September to finish our pre-production costs. 

All of a Sudden is planned to be a feature-length film that follows Eden Village residents, an all-inclusive program in Springfield that addresses the chronically disabled homeless’s needs. They use the Housing First method, meaning they take in folks despite any addictions or mental health issues. For those of you who have been following Carbon Trace, we had to break on this project due to COVID concerns. While we are still very focused on the safety of disadvantaged populations and ourselves, we have begun filming again under our new filming regulations. 

“16 Weeks” has been picked as our student film to debut in Summer 2021. Newest members of the Carbon Trace Team, Greta Cross and Diana Dudenhoeffer, are documenting the lives of the Missouri State University community amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Relying on volunteer-generated content in the form of vlog-style videos captured on smartphones, 16 Weeks offers a unique perspective on this new reality. Everyday people have the opportunity to showcase their story living through this historic time. We look forward to showing you more on this soon. 

Carbon Trace Productions Newsletter Vol. 7

Carbon Trace Productions Newsletter Vol. 7


This month has been a bit of a whirlwind for the Carbon Trace Team. We were busy balancing the premieres of new films, raising funds for upcoming projects, trying our hand at a public service announcement, and finishing the most significant grant application we have ever requested. We are letting go of expectations and focusing more on the discipline of doing the right thing, no matter how hard it seems. This month, I have been thinking about the Tony Robbins quote:

“Turn your expectations … into appreciation”

It is a luxury to have choices, and every day I have so many to make. What a life! This month, and hopefully for many months ahead, instead of getting overwhelmed I will let go and try to see things as simply as I can and take the next step – whatever it may be.

You can receive this update to your inbox by CLICKING HERE. 

-Shannon Cay, Executive Director


Welcome to New Board Member Dr. Leslie Seawright

At the very beginning of this month, The Board of Directors approved a new member of the leadership team, Dr. Leslie Seawright. She is currently an associate professor of English in the Technical and Professional Writing Program at Missouri State University. Leslie has been and will continue to be our “go-to” for all things grant related. This is more important now than ever as we are currently applying for a grant from the highly competitive National Endowment for the Arts Fund for our Ozarks documentary, “A Portrait of the Ozarks.”


Update on Current Documentary Films

The film is complete and ready for viewing! I want to give a big shout out to the “Songs From the Street” Student Team. We believe this is our best student project yet, and we are very grateful for the energy of the young adults involved. Michael Mayrand, Mackenzie Huffman, and the rest of the team deserve a COVID aware elbow bump when we hope to premiere the film at The Moxie at the end of August. We plan to have three days of showings so you will have several opportunities to view this fantastic film about the Springfield Street Choir. For exact dates, be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

We have resumed communicating and making plans with the leaders of the Eden Village project in Springfield. Eden Village is a community of tiny homes for the disabled homeless. The biggest news is that Eden Village has started its expansion project (Eden Village II) to house even more of our friends who live on the street. We were there to watch them deliver two of the first twenty-plus houses at the new location. Our Patrons can see that video HERE.

This documentary could very well be our biggest film yet. With partnerships spanning multiple departments at Missouri State University and the endorsement of several stakeholders, we are sure this film exploring traditionalism in the Ozarks will be an epic journey. While we hope to receive federal funds from the National Endowment for the Arts we want to get started as soon as possible. We have already raised just over $15,000 of our $20,000 pre-production development budget, thanks mostly to the support of William Darr, Tom Peters, and Shannon County residents. Thank you! We look forward to many future visits.

After several months of refining its storyline, we are proud to say we have finished this delightful film for drive-in lovers everywhere. In no small part due to the pandemic, drive-ins are making a comeback. We hope to present this short film to you during the Moxie run of “Songs From the Street” at the end of August.


The editing team at Carbon Trace is chipping away at the sequel structure of “Witness at Tornillo.” In this film, American volunteers in Matamoros, Mexico, are the only lifeline for Central American refugees caught between two governments hostile to their situation. As U.S. asylum courts deny refugees’  claims and the Mexican government takes daily steps to make camp life difficult, the refugees and volunteers are waiting for justice. We anticipate this film to be released sometime in 2021.


Support Nonprofit Documentary Filmmaking

Check out our Patreon memberships. At the $5 per month level of support, you get free VIP codes for all Carbon Trace pay-per-view movies, including the right to download a copy to keep! It’s a great way to watch our documentary films while supporting our nonprofit mission of documentary education and humanitarian service.
Carbon Trace can provide significant guidance in developing, funding, producing, and distributing a documentary film. For high school students wishing to learn more about documentary filmmaking, Missouri State University offers degrees in digital filmmaking, media production, journalism, and other associated areas.

To take part in the documentary education provided through the Carbon Trace Team we encourage you to apply for a filmmaking internship, submit a documentary idea, or apply to become a volunteer using the forms below.

Join Carbon Trace as a student volunteer

Apply for an internship

Submit a documentary idea

Carbon Trace Productions Newsletter Vol. 6

Carbon Trace Productions Newsletter Vol. 6

Good Day World, 

The heat of summertime is upon us here in southwest Missouri. As the sun sanitizes, we are looking at our own homes and hearts. I am doing a lot of thinking lately about my values and how to act on them. Actions reflect our values because actions don’t lie. I can say I want to run a marathon until I am blue in the face, but it’s the first jog that will get me there.  At Carbon Trace Productions, our values are truth, education, and creativity.

We pride ourselves in our documentary-style cinematography, no matter the project. Our upcoming full-length film Songs From the Street is a perfect example. Be sure to send them some love this week as they raise funds to amplify the story. The Carbon Trace team always wants to hear from real people, speaking from the heart — never a script.

Education happens through action. We offer interdisciplinary internships every semester with hands-on film making experience. We also are always looking for film ideas. If you have any thoughts, be sure to send them to us by going to our website. I believe values are won and lost through those life experiences. Creativity via documentary film leaves the viewer feeling as though they have lived through these life experiences themselves. We hope to give people the window to look out in hopes it will cause them to act on their values.

-Shannon Cay, Executive Director

Songs From the Street Fundraising Video from Michael Mayrand on Vimeo.

The student team with Songs From the Street is reaching the finish line with the development of this film. It’s the story of a choir made up of homeless individuals fighting to be seen in their community. The crew is currently raising funds to support the film after release — for marketing and distribution to spread the story of the Street Choir to as many people as possible! Please take the time to donate or share. Anything helps.

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We are starting to pull together the stories of American volunteers in Matamoros, Mexico as Witness at the Border moves through the editing stage. These volunteers are the only lifeline for Central American refugees caught between two governments hostile to their situation. As the U.S. asylum courts deny their claims and the Mexican government takes daily steps to make camp life difficult, the refugees and volunteers are waiting for justice.



This is the story of the residents at Eden Village, the result of a decade-long concern with homelessness held by David and Linda Brown — two wealthy residents of downtown Springfield. They see the homeless not as annoyances but as neighbors. To alleviate homelessness, they are opening up tiny home villages. The purpose of Eden Village is not to provide “adequate housing” for the disabled homeless but instead to establish a sense of community. Our crew had to pause this project to protect the health and safety of the All of a Sudden’s subjects. We have implemented new COVID safety measures and will return to filming as early as this week. 


Missouri State University and Carbon Trace Productions are searching for the real indicators of social and economic conditions in rural areas such as Shannon County, Missouri. We want to go beyond county-level population trends and employment, income, and poverty reports to meet the real people who live in such a rural part of the state. Working together, we hope to shed light on stereotypes and assumptions of the rural Ozarks. See more about the story on our website



Witness At Tornillo is available on pay-per-view after winning Best Documentary at the KC FilmFest International 2020. This is the story of individual action against the injustice of family separations and internment camps for children at the U.S. border. The documentary utilizes the “subversive act of seeing” to encourage us all to examine our ethics and compassion. You can watch this award-winning film HERE.