Casey Neistat, a film director who at one point had a series on HBO and since 2010 became popular on YouTube, was contacted by 20th Century Fox to promote its blockbuster film starring Ben Stiller, “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.” He would have $25,000. But instead of using it on ads, Neistat convinced the movie producer to let him spend the money on helping typhoon victims in the Philippines.
And what happened was awesome.
“‘Mitty’ is a movie about chasing a dream and they wanted me to make a movie about chasing a dream,” Neistat wrote. “I am a big dreamer but at that time only one thing came to mind; if I could do anything in the world right now what would it be? That’s to help the victims of the typhoon. I, [somewhat] crassly, replied to 20th Century Fox that the only movie I wanted to make is one where I give away the budget to those in need.”
Neistat, surprised that Fox agreed to his plan, took his friend, Oscar, to the Philippines. Using his own cameras and no crew, they filmed buying thousands of dollars worth of pallets of food and supplies for victims of Typhoon Haiyan, which hit the coastal town of Tanauan in early November.
“We were unable to local trucks large enough to transport our supplies,” Neistat wrote in the video.
But when he saw the line of people wanting food, Neistat said he didn’t think they bought enough.
In addition to food, Neistat wrote that they stretched the budget to cover some medicine and tools to help in rebuilding.
Watch the video (Content warning: some strong language):
“Big thank you to Fox and Ben Stiller for not freaking the f*** out when they saw what I did with their money,” Neistat wrote.
Stiller seemed alright with it, tweeting about the video Monday.
With the funding from 20th Century Fox, Neistat provided more than 10,000 meals and helped 35 villages get rebuilding tools.
“Never have I met such people with the resilience of these typhoon victims,” Neistat wrote. “There was one thing that stuck out, one big huge tiny thing, that was; of everyone we were face to face with, thousands of people, not once, at anytime for any reason did anyone complain. No one. Their focus was on rebuilding and healing, not sympathy.”