On the “heels” of her successful documentary film about human trafficking in Latin bars, The Cantinera, Ruth Villatoro embarks on a new project bringing audiences another thought-provoking story in HEEL Documentary.
In Houston, Texas, in an area named the “corridor of cruelty,” dogs are dumped hungry, injured or dead, many of them fighting bait dogs. One of the organizations involved with the HEEL Documentary, Corridor Rescue, is the beginning, and the hope, for abandoned dogs who are rescued and put up for adoption throughout their vast network. Volunteers are in the area every day to feed the discarded dogs until they are able to find suitable homes and get them off the streets.
One of the ways these abused and abandoned dogs are being rehabilitated is through Project H.E.E.L., Helping Empower Everyone’s Lives, an eight week program involving boys within the Harris County Leadership Academy and whose mission stresses personal accountability through Discipline, Accountability, Redirection and Transition (DART).
Boys and dogs are connected through the program, fostering each other, a simple solution which moves towards reform of two intricate issues, juvenile justice and animal cruelty. Through the Heel Documentary there is hope that this successful therapy program can be used in other juvenile facilities.
The story follows the boys as they prepare their dog for a domestic adoption in an intense eight week program all within the walls of the facility. As the bond grows between the boys and the dogs, the boys begin to build characteristics such as responsibility, love, trust, companionship, empathy, hope and forgiveness. The journey becomes a healing process for both the dog and boy.
Meet Ruth Villatoro
A dog enthusiast and the producer/director of the film, Ruth is a documentary filmmaker who is passionate about stories that help provoke social change. During her 20 years in the industry as a producer and operations manager, she knows just what it takes to budget, build a team and see a project through to completion. Her degree in Broadcast Journalism and drive for truly independent stories has taken her from the slums of Africa to the human trafficking compounds in the United States as she is devoted to using her stories as a tool to educate and raise awareness.