Advocating for change, fig media produces non-profit fundraising documentary for 50th anniversary.

Executive Summary

Sergeant Shriver National Center on Poverty Law, a Chicago based non-profit, commissioned fig media to produce a fundraising documentary for their 50th anniversary. The video highlights the mission of the Shriver Center in their advocacy work for justice and equality. We follow women who are taking a stand in their neighborhoods to fight for change and the lawyers who help them. This project raised over 100k after it screened at their 50th-anniversary celebration gala and continues to be used to inspire people to action. 


This is our fourth commission with the Shriver Center and our largest project to date. When we first started working with them, the dream was to be able to tell the stories of the people they serve. Legally, this wasn't always possible due to concerns over the sensitivity of their cases. Our creative team has spent much time scratching our heads over this challenge. The last three films we produced with them creatively worked around that problem. This year they knew they needed to tell those stories and they worked hard to get us in front of people who were ready. We started our journey with interviews with legacy members, Tim and Maria Shriver. Flying to LA to capture Maria and filming Tim here in Chicago. This client moves fast and is still refining their official brand statements, so we needed to stay adaptable to their changes throughout the year. 

 Ambar Mentor-Truppa driving through Fairmont IL with DeLinda Herod. 

Ambar Mentor-Truppa driving through Fairmont IL with DeLinda Herod. 

Once our creative plan was approved, we spent a week on the road traveling to capture the stories of our women, which offered its own set of challenges. Spending time in people's homes is always vulnerable. To make sure we were getting strong interviews, fig decided to scale down the production crew so our participants could relax. Director Melissa Fox and Vice President of Communications for the Shriver Center Ambar Mentor Truppa partnered on the road to film the main stories. This allowed us to maintain the personable feeling that the advocates and lawyers provide with their clients. We spent a lot of time talking about each person and how best to tell their stories in an empowering way. We didn't want the image of poverty that everyone sees to pop up in our films. We want to make people the heroes of their own stories. That was the cornerstone of our work. 

 James Gustin filming Timothy Shriver in Chicago 

James Gustin filming Timothy Shriver in Chicago 

 BTS of interviews on-site in Calumet City. 

BTS of interviews on-site in Calumet City. 

We got amazing interviews with people and were so moved by their willingness to open up after we spent some time with them. I wouldn’t have been able to get that with a large lighting crew, sound guys and staff. It’s a great example of putting stories and people first. It paid off in a big way.
— fig director Melissa Fox

After completion and screening it at the gala, it became clear that this film was a giant step forward for their mission and they now have a desire to go deeper and tell the stories of their advocates and lawyers as well. Oh, and we dj'd the event too! 

How our services were used

This client booked a year-long project with a feature documentary with full pre-production package and mini-films to release throughout the year.

  • Film number one was used to launch the fundraising initiatives in January. 
  • Films two and three were used as a teaser for the gala.
  • Film number four was used for the follow up to the gala and the year-end fundraising initiatives in addition to a few smaller interview clips. 
  • The Full-length film was used at both the gala and the symposium as well as on their website, in meetings and at various events.  

Results, Return on Investment and Future Plans 

  • At every screening, the audience cheers when they hear the results that the lawyers are achieving with our heroes. 
  • Anytime our client includes the participants at events where it has screened, our heroes receive standing ovations.
  • Our non-profit video raised over 100k after it screened at the 50th gala.  
  • Having multiple films throughout the year increased engagement with their potential donors and volunteers. 
  • Our creative team worked seamlessly with their event team to make sure the design and message were on point with other Shriver initiatives. 
  • Because the film was designed to live beyond the event, it has become a staple in their messaging for the foreseeable future. 
  • We are in talks to begin our next project in 2018. It is always a compliment when a client books again! 


Producer: Megan Taylor, James Gustin, Michele Gustin
Director + Filmmaker + Editor: Melissa Fox
Deejay: Megan Taylor


Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law

Venu Gupta, VP of Development
John Bowman, Executive Director
Ambar Mentor Truppa, Director of Communications
Michelle Nicolete, Marketing Director
Harleen Singh, Corporate & Events Manager

Kym Abrams Design, Event Design and Website


Local Chicago Production Company produces delicious photography and video for Mrs. Thinsters with Haylie Duff.

Local Chicago Production Company produces delicious photography and video for Mrs. Thinsters with Haylie Duff.

That’s How We Roll LLC needed a Chicago production company to create marketing and PR media to push a celebrity endorsement of their product: Crumb Cake Cookie Thins by Mrs. Thinsters. Haylie Duff created a recipe for the cookies with Mrs. Thinsters and their marketing and PR department needed media to help pitch stories and promote the cookies. Haylie Duff flew into Chicago for 24 hours and our film and photo team produced and directed a multi-setup shoot on location. 

Lookingglass Theatre: A Decade of Creative Collaboration


Since 2007, fig artist Alvin Black III, has worked with the team at Lookingglass theatre company on their annual gala, glassquerade.  Working with the Artistic and Development Directors Phil Smith and Jennifer Benniemen, Alvin created visual landscapes for the changing themes, each reflecting the ideas, colors, and inspirations produced from Lookingglass. From the classic map aesthetic of 2008's "Around the World" to the paper marionettes in 2014's "A Celestial Evening" to the moody forest of 2017's "Night in the Forest"- each year produced a unique opportunity and occasionally the fig impact on the look found its way into other elements for the event, such as centerpieces. 

: James Gustin & Michele Gustin
PRODUCER: Megan Taylor