Carmel grad tracing Colombian roots in new documentary
By Gary Boskovich
At 23 years old, Carmel High School graduate Lexi Hiland is just beginning her journey through life.
But her real journey began in the early 1990s in the city of Pamplona, Colombia. Unable to sufficiently take care of Lexi, her birth parents gave her up for adoption when she was an infant.
Lexi lived in Ohio, Illinois and Arizona before she and her mother moved to Carmel in 2005, a place which she said gave her a normal childhood.
“I’ve kind of just always known my entire life that I was adopted. For the most part I had a pretty amazing childhood and was involved in a lot of sports. At Carmel I played softball and soccer,” she said.
But as an adult Lexi is now involved in a project that she hopes will give her closure on her heritage and help others who have been adopted in the process.
After graduating from Purdue University, she moved to New York City and took an internship with Grassroots Films – a documentary film company she was drawn to since watching their production of “The Human Experience.”
With the help of Grassroots Films, Lexi was given the green light to produce a short documentary about her adoption experience and her journey from Colombia to the United States.
But Grassroots couldn’t fund her project, and she had to raise her own funding. To that end, Lexi utilized Kickstarter – a website established to raise money for creative projects like hers where individuals donate to projects they view as having artistic value.
Lexi’s goal was to raise $6,500 so she and her film crew could travel to Colombia and film her documentary. On June 7 she not only reached her goal, she exceeded it by $500…and it only took her one month to do so.
Lexi completed filming her story in June, the culmination of a dream come true.
“I know very little about my birth parents. For about the first year and a half, I was taken care of by someone I was able to meet 20 years later,” she said.
Lexi understands that she wouldn’t be where she is today if not for this person who cared for her the first 18 months of her life.
“There was a couple of times when we were in Colombia I had to pinch myself and looked all around me and was like, wow, you did kind of what you imagined,” she said. “And that was very cool.”
She had a rewarding experience filling a void that had been with her for the greater part of her life. But Lexi explains, if there is one thing she wants viewers to take away from her film, it’s this: “The No. 1 thing is that I hope people can see how much lives can really be changed if you help someone – especially children at a young age who need that care and protection who don’t have it,” she said. “The documentary truly is a story that everyone is connected.”