Ileana, a little girl with a big heart and lightning smile, grew up in a trash dump community in Managua, Nicaragua. As a child she was forced into prostitution by her parents to make money for her family. Tragically, she contracted HIV and passed away in 2011. Inspired by Ileana’s courage and smile, Love Light & Melody and Founder/Musician, Brad Corrigan (member of Dispatch), are raising funds to produce a documentary film and soundtrack in honor of Ileana’s short, beautiful and bold life.
"There's my life up until 2006, and then I met Ileana," said Corrigan. "That little girl became like a daughter to me and wrecked me so beautifully... and I’ll never forget the courage and strength in her smile. It’s now my honor to speak and sing to her life so that other kids like her can be protected and live."
Ileana’s Smile will shine a light on the growing need to protect children vulnerable to sexual exploitation. The film will also raise funds and awareness for the International Justice Mission, World Childhood Foundation and other leading organizations fighting to protect vulnerable children worldwide.
Brad Corrigan is a musician, member of the indie band Dispatch, producer, and composer of original music for film. He is widely networked in the artist community and will be collaborating with artist friends from a variety of genres to create a stand-alone body of original music inspired by Ileana's Smile. Brad has been inspired by the likes of Gustavo Santaolalla and Mark Mothersbaugh and can't wait to create a soundtrack and score that is as wild and unpredictable, soft and sweet as Ileana.
The Ileana's Smile soundtrack currently includes the following artists:
Archiving – We are in the process of archiving five years of film footage and still photography that was captured during Ileana’s life from 2006-2011.
Filming – In 2014 we filmed interviews in Nicaragua, Brazil, Japan, and Australia, to document how Ileana’s story has impacted, unified and inspired countless communities worldwide in the fight to protect children vulnerable to sexual exploitation. In 2015 we will be focusing on interviewing a handful of athletes, artists and musicians whose lives and careers were inspired by Ileana’s courage and friendship, as well as leading experts on the global issue of sexual exploitation.
Fundraising – Through Kickstarter, in early 2014, we successfully raised the initial funding for the film and soundtrack thanks to our first 1,173 supporters coming together from eight countries. We are now in an ongoing effort to raise additional awareness and funding – both domestically and internationally – to increase the scope, reach and production value of the film, and to unify as many hearts and minds as possible in the fight to end the sexual exploitation of children.
Timeline – The projected release date for Ileana’s Smile is Spring 2016.
Post your photo with Ileana as part of the ‘Ileana’s Smile Portrait Project’ and help us circle the globe with her smile. Get creative, have fun and please invite your friends from all over the world to do the same! We will be drawing from these photos to use in the titling and artwork for the film. Click here to download (JPG or PDF) and print Ileana’s portrait and send it to us via Facebook, Twitter or Instagram with the #smilewithileana hashtag. Thank you for believing in the power of a smile!
What will my donation be going towards at this point in the project?
Your donations will allow us to hire the best creative team possible for the making of Ileana’s Smile, conduct interviews with people all over the world who were impacted by Ileana’s life and story, and make the film and soundtrack at the highest quality level possible.
Is my donation tax deductible?
All donations are tax deductible. Love Light & Melody is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.
I live outside the U.S., but want to get involved. What can I do?
Thank you for wanting to share Ileana’s Smile all across the globe! Contact Daisy at email@example.com if you’re interested in hosting a fundraising event, starting a social media fan page or have other ideas on how we can share Ileana’s story in your country.
How can I get more involved in the Ileana's Smile movement?
Want to share Ileana’s Smile with your friends, family or community? Contact Daisy at firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange a music and storytelling event with Brad Corrigan at your home, school, church or office.
Never underestimate the power of one.
In 2005, musician Brad Corrigan was invited to be part of a concert and youth event in Managua, Nicaragua. While on the trip, he was introduced to the incredible extremes of this Central American country. Brad learned that over 220 families had been living in Managua’s trash dump, La Chureca (the Scavenging Place), and that the community had existed for almost 40 years.
After many taxi visits to the dump the following year to photograph and learn more about the community, Brad met the most unlikely and beautiful little girl, Ileana. Ileana rode up to his taxi, grabbed his hand and pulled him into a world that would change his life forever. Inspired by Ileana’s joy and courage and by the people living in the trash dump who welcomed him into their community like family, Brad formed Love Light & Melody the following year (2007) to help meet the emotional, physical and spiritual needs of all the people living and working there.
Since 2007, Love, Light & Melody’s scope of work has expanded domestically to the Pine Ridge Reservation in Oglala, South Dakota. The unspeakable poverty facing the Pine Ridge community shocked and inspired Brad just as it had in Nicaragua. In an effort to aid the children and families living on the Pine Ridge Reservation, Love Light & Melody is forging partnerships to help relieve the unrelenting pressures of extreme poverty facing the community.
Love Light & Melody also works with the Sun Valley Youth Center in Denver, Colorado. SVYC is committed to transforming the lives of at-risk youth in Denver’s poorest and largely international community. Love Light & Melody partners with SVYC to connect and mobilize local volunteers, athletes and artists to serve and inspire the children.