Due to the success of his film The Mountain Thief, Gerry Balasta felt encouraged to use it as an agent of philanthropy. Thus, the New York-based Mount Hope Project, Inc. and the Philippine-based Mount Hope Initiative Inc., were formed. Both entities are non-profit organizations whose mission is to use the arts to support and enhance the education of children living in Payatas.
Mount Hope Team
Gerry Balasta, Filmmaker and Founder / Board Member
While working with children with disabilities as an Occupational Therapist, Gerry pursued a career in filmmaking, a life-long passion. Inspired by a vision of sharing the spirit of people in Manila living in extreme poverty, he completed courses in film production at New York University-SCPS.
Gerry went to the Philippines, where he was born and raised and instituted an acting workshop open to the residents of the Philippine's largest garbage-collecting town. Graduates of the workshop acted in his first feature film, The Mountain Thief.
The film had a hugely successful film festival run and won the SPECIAL JURY PRIZE at the 2010 San Francisco International Asian-American Film Festival, The PRIX DU PUBLIC (Audience Award) at CciIFF, France and the GEORGE C. LIN EMERGING FILMMAKER AWARD in Washington DC. It also has been selected to play in more than 18 International Film Festivals. Gerry is currently working on his next second feature film THE SOLAR CHAMPION, a comedy acted by the actors of The Mountain Thief. This film extends Gerry's film and advocacy work to green and renewable energy.
In 2011, he founded The Mount Hope Project Inc., a U.S. based non-profit with the mission of using films and the arts to make a direct impact on lives. He also co-founded the International Film Festival Manhattan, an international film festival in New York with programming in social justice. The Mount Hope Initiative., Philippines marks the arrival of Gerry's efforts and advocacy work in Quezon City.
Lore Nastor, Administrator, Mount Hope Initiative
Lore has extensive experience in the Media Credit Cooperative at the Philippine Information Agency in Q.C. She started work with Director Gerry Balasta since 2004 to the present, doing the logistical and management work for Inspire Change Films, Inc. USA as well as extending advocacy and non-profit work.
Janice came on board during the inception of the Mount Hope Project, Inc. in May 2011. At the time, she was currently setting up her own US-based non-profit organization called Awareness Works which she began with her colleague at the New York University Continuing Education and Professional Studies on Global Affairs. Her global immersion started at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, which continued on to overseas volunteer works in Papua New Guinea and Cambodia. This fueled her passion for effecting change, especially in communities in dire need of help. Having come from a developing country, she has leveraged the generous opportunity brought by the Mount Hope Project into a platform that aims to create sustainable projects that will help communities in the Philippines and countries worldwide.
Jenny got involved with Mount Hope when she met Gerry Balasta in 2011. The meeting was serendipitous as Jennifer is the President of PGEP, a renewable energy company which developed the waste to energy plant at the Payatas dumpsite. The plant started operation in 2008 and continues to operate to today, mitigating the release of methane emissions from the dumpsite. Through the use of European technology, biogas is extracted and methane is converted into electricity.
Lina Romasanta, Board Member
Patricia Domingo, Board Member
Conchita Campos, Executive Director
We'd like to thank the following for supporting our continued efforts: