UC Berkeley alumna and EAP Spain participant Kelly Richardson produced and directed the documentary film Without a Net, which tells the story of four Brazilian youth who train and perform with a local circus.
“In 2004, I studied abroad in Madrid with EAP and as a matter of fact, that is where this story begins. When I arrived in Spain, I decided I wanted to have a full immersion experience outside of the university setting. So I did a little exploring and found a stationary, fully operational circus in Casa de Campo Park. I began learning acrobatics and trapeze there (as well as the Spanish I wasn’t learning in the University setting!) and all around had a wonderful experience there.
In 2005, I graduated form UCB with a BA in Spanish then moved to Brazil where I again started practicing (and then performing) with a local circus. I was impressed by a social project the circus offered to nearby children and teenagers at-risk for joining the drug trade. It aimed at giving them an alternative to the cycle of drugs and crime through circus training and performance.
I had the opportunity to get to know the young participants as colleagues and fellow performers, and to hear the stories of their day-to-day lives, and then to watch them perform their art in the circus shows. The strong parallels I noticed between the way they faced their precarious lives and the way they performed the inherently risky circus stunts created the initial spark that made me want to make the film, Without a Net.”
Kelly’s film has been critically acclaimed by the Los Angeles Times, and she is currently touring the film festival circuit.