The Empowerment Project Just Made Movie Magic Happen In Seattle!

Oh hey, glorious people!

It’s Dana, the Producer of the ‘The Empowerment Project” and co-founder of Heartfelt Productions, the company behind this marvelous project! For those of you who followed our 60-day Kickstarter, you most likely remember me filling your Facebook news feed with fundraising updates and pleas to help us reach our goal (which we did, thank you all 404 backers)! Well, I’m back on the interwebs, and ready to tell you about our incredible voyage through The Pacific Northwest.

There are some times and places in life when the stars seem to perfectly align, and that, for us…was Seattle. Something magic was in the air from the moment we drove into the city, with the sunlight glimmering from the top of the Space Needle, and “Pretty Young Thing” blaring over the speakers in “Minnie” (our home-on-wheels minivan), we just had a feeling that the universe had something cookin for us…and it was gonna be unforgettable.


The city welcomed us with open arms and free swag at Lululemon…and for a bunch of gals who have been spending the majority of our time trekking in the car, we’re all big fans of spandex lately. Lulu so graciously offered each of us a free tank to wear for our shoot with Kacie Cleveland, a world-class, competitive athlete who we were set to film in Bellingham the next morning. Toting our shiny new threads, we headed to dinner at Buca Di Beppo, where we got our pasta-on at the Pope’s Table as our charming waiter sang “That’s Amore” to us as we dined. Adorable.

We headed north to Bellingham, arriving at midnight to who we now consider our adopted parents, Tom and Suzie (who also happen to be Kacie’s parents). They offered to put us weary travelers up for a couple of nights at their amazing home, which was beyond generous. Sarah and I decided to take Kacie’s old bedroom, and as we fell into fluffy pillows of wonderland beneath the gleam of medals and ribbons from her decade-long career of world record breaking, we couldn’t help but feel honored by the inspiration all around us.

The next morning we headed to Kacie’s gym, an industrial garage-turned-fitness studio, and against the backdrop of a huge American flag (perfect for the all-American girl), we got to know this fiery, inspiring woman.

Kacie Cleveland

Kacie has a story like no other. She spent much of her youth as a competitive athlete, but at the age of 21, was suddenly diagnosed with a life threatening heart condition and told by doctors she would most likely not survive much longer. But she would not accept that as her destiny. She beat the odds and eventually went onto train to be the first woman to skate across the country from California to Florida in 47 days (beating the men’s record by over 20 days)!!

Even more incredibly, she has been training as a “tower runner”, enlisting in competitions around the country climbing the stairwells in skyscrapers, and is now ranked number 10 in the world. Her biggest feat was climbing a 42 storey building for 24 hours straight…roughly adding up to 2.5 trips up Mount Everest.

Kacie’s story is one that is a true testament to fighting through the pain, never giving up, and achieving the impossible. The time we spent listening to her tell the story of her life, her strength and passion moved us all to tears. She is a true hero.

TEP & Kacie Cleveland

When we wrapped the interview, our heads still buzzing from all this woman has accomplished, we were told it was our turn to learn what it was like to push ourselves…and that we did. Kacie was not about to let us off easy, and created an  interval training program with the intent of forcing us to dig deep, get uncomfortable, accept the challenge, and feel empowered.

Exhausted but feeling accomplished, we headed back to Tom and Suzy’s house, who put on the most decadent meal we’ve ever had, ending with s’mores around the backyard fire pit. There have been times on this trip that our hearts have felt so incredible full from the generosity of people we’ve met, and this night was certainly one of them.

The next day, we headed into Seattle to shoot a bit of Kacie in action – tower running, in-line skating through the streets of downtown – you know, the usual Monday morning activities.

Once we wrapped, we headed to a somewhat impromptu meeting with Indieflix, as a follow up to a meeting Sarah and I had in San Francisc. For those of you who don’t know, they are an incredible independent film distribution site that champions filmmakers who are looking to find an audience for their projects. All 5 of us went into the meeting looking forward to an office tour, maybe a few free licorice whips, and we came out completely and totally in awe of what had transpired.

Indieflix expressed interest in partnering with us for the project. Sarah and I cried for about 10 minutes once we walked out, in disbelief of this dream that we have been working toward for almost 10 months, to finally become something tangible, and to have a company like Indieflix acknowledge that it was this good to potentially be picked up for distribution.

TEP Indieflix

With our head in the clouds, we headed out of the city and to Everett, to stay the night at my Auntie Patti’s house, a peaceful space perched gloriously overlooking the sound. It was the perfect end to a perfect trip for me…with family surrounding us (my beautiful cousin Anna even made the drive out), and another beautiful home-cooked meal enjoyed on the front porch at sunset, our hearts and bellies were full of love and contentment with the beauty the city had brought to us.

We woke early the next morning for the big drive toward Montana – and within 20 minutes on the road, the phone rang. It was Indieflix. They now officially wanted to jump on board and co-produce this project with us. Sometimes dreams do come true.


Stay tuned for the journey ahead…it’s a bright one!!

Ciao for now,




(Pictures courtesy of: Alana Fickes. Facebook pictures courtesy of: Sarah Moshman)


  1. I do love these posts. You gals are truly blessed! What courage and faith you all have! Good things do come to good people. Can’t wait to meet you all tonight. Batteries bought. See you soon. Safe travels.

  2. Thought I’d tell you~~weather is kind of crappy here. Has rained off and on all day and is supposed to get cool tonight. I sure hope it clears off so you can see the beautiful full moon over the lake.

  3. Pingback: Girl Talk HQ | Extremus

  4. Pingback: Empowerment Project « SWEAT ON FITNESS

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