Fashioning Charel

A documentary about resilience

The Massachusetts Department of Children and Families removed Charel from her mother at birth, a dark start to what would become an early life fraught with toxic levels of abuse, trauma and stress.Now 27, she strives against long odds to be the best mother she can be, to keep her children and to break her family's multi-generational cycle of mothers having their children removed.

When a mysterious message for Charel reignites a childhood talent for fashion, she sees a path to a future where she and her family can genuinely thrive.

We follow Charel in an unvarnished way as she works her way into the Boston fashion scene. We learn about her past as she and others in her life reflect on her journey.

Watch the trailer

Our Goals for the Film

In 2021 (the most recent year U.S. gov't. statistics are available), 3,016,000 children were the subject of a child welfare agency response, of which 600,000 children (estimated) were determined to be victims of maltreatment. Maltreatment can lead to traumatic stress in children and young adults resulting in a challenging mix of symptoms: separation anxiety, nightmares, concentration issues, depression, substance abuse, and more. Extreme childhood stress can eventually can lead to significant health and behavioral challenges as adults.For many of these children and young adults it becomes almost impossible to see a way out, a way into a successful stable adult life.Our hope is that Charel's story can help these young people and others see that there can be a path to building resilience, to survive and ultimately thrive.

Viewing Opportunities

  • At screenings with discussions in local settings

  • Juvenile detention facilities

  • As teaching assets in high school and college classrooms

  • In conference talks

  • On social media (possibly broken into multiple episodes)

Potential Audiences

  • Caregivers working with young families or survivors of trauma (youth and adults)

  • Survivors of trauma

  • Providers of trauma-informed care

  • Law enforcement

  • Healthcare providers

  • Students studying trauma and resilience

  • Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) advocates

Current Status - Support Needed!

We have submitted a near-final cut to Boston area film festivals and we are working to raise modest finishing funds. The film is currently about 35 minutes long.We are looking for collaborators and partners to help us maximize the impact of this film.

We welcome support

Please let us know if you can help in any way -- as a partner, collaborator, or financial supporter. Or if you're interested in just staying in touch so you can learn where and how to see and use the finished product, that's great too.We will be launching a crowdfunding campaign soon for our finishing funds. (We'll include a link here.)

I'd like to learn more / help

Our Team

Producers: Charel Murrell, Andy Takats
Director: Andy Takats
Cinematographer & Editor: Andy Takats
Story Consultants: Franziska Blome, Michael Sheridan, Rae Trilogy, Malik Williams

Charel is a native of Boston and a mother to two boys. She has extensive experience as a mentor to youth who are victims of or at risk of sex trafficking. She works as the Assistant Director of Prevention & Partnerships at My Life My Choice, a nationally-recognized leader in the battle against the commercial sexual exploitation of children.

Andy grew up in Philadelphia and now lives in Arlington, MA. He spent 10+ years volunteering with traumatized and disadvantaged youth, using photography and film to engage and share their stories. Formerly on the advisory board of the Germaine Lawrence School in Arlington, he is currently a member of the Advisory Board of My Life My Choice.

© 2024 Andy Takats & Charel Murrell. All rights reserved.