About The Phoenix: Hope Is Rising

This film began in a cardboard box on a cold night, in the streets of Champaign. Phil Gioja attended One Winter Night 2014 in an effort to help C-U at Home raise funds for their drop-in center, which came to be known as the Phoenix, a name carried on from the bar that used to be in the building many years ago.

Phils box

Phil partnered with Isaac Musgrave to shoot video during One Winter Night 2015, and Isaac also caught the vision. In the summer of 2015 the two film-makers began working on this project in earnest with the goal of having something to show during One Winter Night 2016.

Originally the idea was to share the genesis story of C-U at Home – how it was imagined and how it actually came to be a real ministry. However, Phil and Isaac quickly discovered the story is so much bigger than that. The impact of C-U at Home and the Phoenix drop-in center has been felt across Champaign and Urbana and they felt they needed to dig deeper.

Then, in the midst of production, it came to light that the Phoenix building was scheduled for demolition. Suddenly, it was unknown whether or not the ministry itself would become homeless.

Facing the imminent demolition of their facility, zoning challenges, and a lack of volunteers, Phil and Isaac followed this scrappy ministry startup to find out how they were able to change the way the Champaign-Urbana community interacts with the homeless.

About Phil Gioja: Phil is a freelance video producer and documentary filmmaker. He recently produced a historical documentary on the Old Courthouse Museum in Watseka, and a documentary called From Chains to Freedom about ex-convicts in Washington State who came to Christ in prison.

About Isaac Musgrave: Isaac is a freelance cinematographer who specializes in award winning visual storytelling. He has worked with PBS, ESPN, CBS and more.