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Safe in Austin

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"Just like me."


These are the words you'll hear echoed across "Safe in Austin". An animal sanctuary that rescues special needs animals and matches them with special needs children to bond.


Safe in Austin founder, Jamie Wallace-Grainer, never set out to start an animal sanctuary. At a time when their son was struggling the most with his Autism, into their lives came their "discount superhero" dog.


Angel became their son's Autism Service Dog and would quickly change their world.


Right before their eyes they noticed a change in their son. He stopped self-harming and gave him a new found confidence. He now had power over his disabilities.


They would soon find this wasn't an isolated occurrence, and opened their home to special needs animals to partner with special needs children. Many having the same superpower (how they refer to anyone’s disability) as the animal, let's the child feel like they're not alone in the world.

Video about Safe in Austin - Dr. Phil 

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Caleb is an 8-year-old boy with muscular distrophy, dystonia, countless allergies, and has to eat through a tube. He is in and out of the hospital, but whenever he has free time he wants to spend it with Thomas and the other animals. A one year old great dane with myasthenia gravis, Thomas has to eat in a special chair. The two of them have recently started working together and already have a special connection.

The documentary will follow Caleb, Thomas and the other animals and track the growth they go through together as Caleb begins to start home schooling at Safe in Austin. Something Safe in Austin will be doing for the first time. After being essentially "kicked out" of his public school, because they didn't have the resources to devote to Caleb, one of the heads of Safe in Austin suggested he come to school there. Having her teaching certificate, she has developed a cirriculum that incoroporates his educational learning with his physical therapy, all being in the place where Caleb feels safest. Not being able to read yet, and afraid to speak in public school, they hope that by speaking and reading to the animals it will give him the safety he needs to come out of his shell and finally learn to read. At the end of the semester, Caleb hopes to be able to read a bed time story during a podcast that Safe in Austin puts out every week for the kids who come visit.

Caleb and Thomas (in his special chair to eat)

Caleb and Thomas (in his special chair/box to eat)

Despite any limits doctors have put on Caleb's life expectancy, he has one of the most upbeat and positive outlooks on life. Caleb's dream is to one day become a GI doctor and help kids like himself. He tells his GI doctor he's such an expert and putting in his feeding tube that the hospital should let him help other children.


Caleb's mother, Ashley, was overjoyed with the idea. Having stage four cancer herself, another son with autism, and a daughter with a rare form of diabetes, this is the kind of support as she says, you just don't see any more in the world.

Caleb and his mom

Like the rescue itself, this will be a documentary about hope and overcoming difficulties in life. We want to leave the audience with a hopeful message that things can get better.


Similar to films like Matthew Heineman's FIRST WAVE and AMERICAN SYMPHONY the film will be shot mostly verite following one family’s perspective to shine a light on the incredible bond humans have with animals, and the power that bond has, and serve as an example for the hundreds of kids who visit Safe in Austin every month.

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Following Caleb in his day-to-day life will give us insight into his life as well as his family's. Using tracking shots and a handheld style will have us feeling like we're going on the journey with him. We will start with more tracking shots from behind, framing Caleb off center, as well as shooting through glass and other objects to create symbolism of not having control.


As Caleb grows more confident, we'll start utilizing gimbal's more to feel his life is getting in control. We'll be using a warm color palette, diffusion filters and lens flares to bring an almost angelic feel at times.

Interview Style

During interviews, we will be covering a wide range of topics that will all have different impacts. Therefore, we will use different camera angles and framing to reflect those changes.


Using a variety of shots will allow us to cut and have a more impactful effect on the audience rather than just using standard interview coverage. Particularly with therapists and his teachers.


While following Caleb and the animals we want to create that bond and hopefulness cinematically and will be utilizing a lot of lens flares and a warmer color palate. We'll also be featuring a number of close up shots to highlight the intimate bond between them.



We can also have fun playing with cuts to create humor as well as highlight the bond between people and dogs.


Because Caleb's emotions can vary so suddenly, we can use some less traditional cutting and jump between shots and locations to emphasize his emotional ups and downs.

Social Media

While we establish the bond upfront between humans and dogs, we will also use other people's videos to create honest and off the cuff moments of truth and humor to show the larger reaching bond that humans and animals have.


Music will be vital to provide an emotional spine to the story. By creating a musical theme for Caleb, we'll be able to adjust that theme depending on the situation he's in, and have it evolve over the course of the film.


Logan Cascia is a 10-time Emmy Award winning director of photography. He has traveled to the most remote regions of the world in search of the best untold stories. Known in the industry for handcrafting striking visuals and producing premium content for a diverse roster of networks, including: Netflix, Disney, ESPN and Hulu, among others. He has documented the lives of amazing humans, and captured events from breathtaking vistas, spanning across 6 continents and over 50 countries.

Matt Groesch previously worked at Lionsgate in film development and production for a number of years before leaving to become a producer. He recently has been living in New Zealand for the past two years, executive producing the television series "One of Us Is Lying" for Peacock and Netflix. In addition to his scripted work, Matt has worked on documentaries for Hulu, ESPN and ABC. Matt and Logan are currently directing and producing a documentary with the Humane Society about dogs and corruption in the US government and big businesses like the NFL and American Kennel Club.

John Sacchi (Producer), an accomplished film executive with a successful 15+ year track record producing a broad slate of consistently profitable feature films for a global audience. He has worked on more than 30 films during his career. Sacchi was a key original player in the 13-year transformation of Lionsgate Films from small indie genre producer to profitable, globally respected mini-major, to the first globally respected mini-major, to the fist nontraditional studio to break the billion dollar mark at the box office.

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Personal Statement

We have worked with countless rescues over the years and on other projects, and have never seen one like Safe in Austin. Not only in the types of animals they save or how they have the children grow with them, but in the manner in which they do it. The compassion that is there for not only the animals, but everyone who comes to visit. They'll allow anyone to come for free, no matter their economic situation, but they'll also get involved with the children and their families as well. Helping however they can. Often having 5-6 other people escaping abuse or dangerous home lives living in their home at any given time. In just one example, they provide a safety net to Caleb's mom to watch the children any time of day if she needs to rush into the hospital for herself or one of the other children. Something her own family wont even do because of all the children's health problems. Jamie and her family help anyone in need. And that's a message that the world needs right now.


Caleb is only one of thousands of children who've come through Safe in Austin. It's a place that because of their generosity is struggling to just get by, and we want to help spread the goodwill they do. Our goal is to bring awareness to families that have special needs children the power of animals, for this program grow to other cities, and the audience to give back to them as well.


There are so many terrible things going on in the world right now, and at times it can feel futile to make a difference. However, this isn't one of those times. This is the chance to make a difference in the world right now, and help children and animals with superpowers. An opportunity to help people who are providing a beacon of light. In addition to helping show the world the good work they're doing in more than just a two-minute news segment, twenty percent of the proceeds will go to Safe in Austin and Caleb's family to help with any immediate needs or medical costs they have.

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