Towering Task Documentary


Join us in support of the Peace Corps Documentary A Towering Task, an in-depth documentary about the whole history of the Peace Corps - not just the 60s, not just individual volunteer experiences, but a thoughtful consideration of the agency’s past and its relevance in the future.

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About A Towering Task

Our Mission is to keep the Peace Corps relevant on the world stage by honoring its iconic past,while ushering in a New Era of Possibility

Our Goal:

A Towering Task envisions a New Era of Possibility for the Peace Corps by igniting engagement of past, present and future stakeholders and advocates for peace.

What is this project about?

Since 1961, the Peace Corps has had a tremendous impact not only on the 220,000 young Americans who have served as volunteers, but also on 140 countries around the world. Despite this global reach, many Americans today have no idea that the Peace Corps still exists. This documentary will tell the story of the Peace Corps in a new way, honoring its rich history while highlighting its tremendous impact on other countries and the citizens and leaders of those countries. It will consider the role of this agency in the 21st century.

Haven’t there been plenty of documentaries about the Peace Corps already?

Yes, there have been other documentaries, but we believe this is the first one that takes a comprehensive look at the agency’s history, frames the story around the three goals of the Peace Corps, and looks forward into the future. Other programs about the Peace Corps tend to tell more of the individual Peace Corps Volunteer experiences, and less of the big picture story of the agency. Alana DeJoseph will not only focus on the history of the Peace Corps, but also its impact on countries, their leaders and country nationals. In a world challenged by global questions that are much different from the 1960s, A Towering Task will examine how the Peace Corps can and should respond.

How do we hope to accomplish our mission?

We aim to produce an unprecedented landmark documentary as a vehicle to create a baseline history of one of the greatest global emissaries of peace in history, capturing the early voices of the Peace Corps before they fade away. We will take a closer look at what the Peace Corps means to the US and the world today, and we will discuss where this small agency with great ideals should go from here. In doing this we will usher in a new era of possibility for the Peace Corps in today’s context.

Who is the Director?

Alana DeJoseph, the Producer and Director, has worked in video and film production for over 20 years. She has worn many hats as producer, director, videographer, and editor, but her heart has always been in documentaries. Between 2003 and 2005, Alana was involved in the production of The Greatest Good, a documentary about the US Forest Service. Being a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer herself, she fervently believes that just such an in-depth, comprehensive documentary is needed for Peace Corps.

Why now?

Since its inception, the Peace Corps has served in 140 countries, many of which have become stable global citizens, superpowers, and peace brokers. To many returned Peace Corps volunteers, the increasing marginalization of the Peace Corps within the United States is a tragedy and a reflection of fading ideals. To warriors like Alana DeJoseph, the global leaders she has assembled, and peace advocates worldwide, the call to action is clear and urgent:Keep the Peace Corps relevant on the world stage by honoring its iconic past,while ushering in a New Era of Possibility.

How can I help?

We are thrilled to partner with Women Make Movies a multicultural, multiracial, non-profit media arts organization which facilitates the production, promotion, distribution and exhibition of independent films and videotapes by and about women, as the new fiscal sponsor of this film. Through Women Make Movies, all donations to fund this documentary film project are 100% tax deductible. Our goal is to raise $2.5 million to finance production and distribution of the film. With your support, post-production is planned to be completed in the Fall of 2016, with a premiere of the program tentatively scheduled for September 2016, followed by broadcast on PBS in 2017. Please contact Alana DeJoseph if you would like to support this effort (see contact info at bottom of page).

And this is how you can help:

1) Mobilize your network of RPCV to join our team of Ambassadors, garnering support and funding for the project.

2) Identify funder opportunities through corporate or foundation gifts, particularly those with PC ties, and facilitate introductions.

3) Facilitate introductions to high capacity individual funders who have potential linkage, ability, and interest.

4) Host an independent Jeffersonian Dinner to garner awareness and support for the project, utilizing format developed specifically for this project.

5) Invest your voice and wallet in the making of this landmark documentary. These funds will be leveraged as a “Challenge Grant” in our crowdfunding campaign, doubling your impact!

How to donate
1) Pay by credit card online at the Women Make Movies donation page.
2) Send a check made out to Women Make Movies. In the memo line write "For a Towering Task: A Peace Corps Documentary"

Send to:
Women Make Movies
115 W. 29th St, Suite 1200
New York, NY 1200
3) Send a non-tax deductible check made out to In the Cause of Peace LLC

Send to:
Alana DeJoseph
1455 Dahlia Street
Denver, CO 80220

What Peace Corps voices are part of this project as funders and/or interviewees?

  • Senator Harris Wofford

  • RPCV Organizer Roger Landrum

  • Representative Sam Farr

  • Representative John Garamendi

  • Secretary General ASEAN Surin Pitsuwan

  • RPCVs-Madison, WI

  • Peace Corps Deputy Director Jody Olsen

  • Peace Builder Chic Dambach

  • Climate Activist Mike Tidwell

  • Ambassador Frank Almaguer

  • Community Leader Timothy Will

  • RPCVs-Washington,DC

  • President Jimmy Carter

  • State Senator Jason Carter

  • Journalist Bill Moyers

  • Peace Corps Director Carol Bellamy

  • Governor Dick Celeste

  • Ambassador Chris Hill

  • RPCVs-Colorado

More about Alana DeJoseph

Scene: Republic of Mali, West Africa, 1993. Twenty-three year old Alana DeJoseph followed the village midwife through the African night with only a kerosene lantern to light winding paths leading to a small, round, mud hut where a young Malian woman labored stoically. Inexperienced, scared, and resolute, Alana did more than show up as a Peace Corps volunteer; she was a woman crossing a cultural bridge during one of the most unifying times in women’s lives: childbirth.

With over 220,000 Americans having invested their youthful idealism and fine minds in the Towering Task of Peace since 1961, this snapshot of the Peace Corps experience is one of millions shared by a declining number of souls who call the Peace Corps the most profound and transformative experience of their lives. New graduates brimming with potential, they thought they would change the world; by Peace Corps design, the world changed them.

In response to the Cold War threat and a race for global favoritism over Russia, the Peace Corps was founded by John F. Kennedy, Jr. as an international cultural bridge, particularly among developing countries lacking infrastructure and vulnerable to oppression. The Camelot ideal of peace was a beacon of hope for an increasingly cynical youth of America, including young Alana.

From a perch of relative privilege, Alana attended Washington and Lee University, an environment at the time known for developing the next generation of business entrepreneurs. Yet a passionate business school professor noticed her shining eyes as he described engagement in the world, not as a periphery concept, but at the core of living a fully expressed life. He suggested the Peace Corps, and Alana, like so many of her American compatriots, applied for the ride of her life.

As a celebrated documentarian with a powerful journalistic ethic, Alana has become a steward, archivist, and catalyst for the Peace Corps, a role she considers sacred and urgent. This has taken the form of producing and directing an unprecedented landmark documentary not only as a vehicle to create a baseline history of one of the greatest global emissaries of peace in history, including capturing the early voices before they fade away, but to usher in a new era of possibility in today’s context. With countless opportunities already squandered, the stakes are staggeringly high.

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