What would you do with $25,000? Documentary filmmaker Casey Neistat decided to donate this amount to survivors of the Philippines typhoon after he was provided with it by 20th Century Fox.
Neistat was initially hired to make a promo for Fox’s upcoming movie, The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty. However, rather than creating a trailer for Ben Stiller’s upcoming adaptation of James Thurber’s infamous short story, he gave the $25,000 to a more worthy cause instead.
Neistat proposed the idea to Fox, who then allowed him to travel to the area just three days later. Neistat decided not to bring a film crew with him, and instead simply used the assistance of his best friend, Oscar, who filmed the piece with just one camera and a tripod.
The residents of Tacloban, one of the Philippine’s major cities that was almost destroyed by the storm, were provided with relief supplies and food by Neistat. Typhoon Haiyan hit in early November, and ultimately killed 6,000 people as well as making millions of dollars worth of damage.
The filmmaker has since uploaded a video to YouTube depicting his time in the region, entitled “What would you do with $25,000.” It has already been viewed by over 335,000 people online.
On his YouTube video, Neistat remarked, “Mitty is a movie about chasing a dream and they wanted me to make a movie about chasing a dream. I am a big dreamer but at that time only one thing came to mind; if [I] could do anything in the world right now what would it be? [T]hat’s to help the victims of the typhoon.”
Neistat told The Huffington Post that Fox were ecstatic with his efforts “I wasn’t dealing with the entire studio, I was dealing with one single open-minded person on their marketing team. When I sent her the finished video, she simply replied, ‘It made me cry.'”
The six-minute video features Neistat handing out around 10,000 meals to Tacloban’s inhabitants, all of which were bought with the $25,000 budget. They were also helped by locals of the city
Neistat admitted that the idea came to him just five days after the tragedy, and he responded to an email from Fox by stating, “Here’s my concept. Give me the budget and I will go to the Philippines and spend every penny helping people in need.”
Neistat went on to describe his time in the Philippines in more detail, noting, “Never have I met such people with the resilience of these typhoon victims. There was one thing that stuck out, one big huge tiny thing, that was of everyone we were face to face with, thousands of people, not once, at anytime for any reason did anyone complain – not one. Their focus was on rebuilding and healing, not sympathy.”
You can watch Neistat’s video above.