From murder in Cleveland to life-saving in Ghana, documentary on Yvonne Pointer wins CIFF award

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - The 1984 murder of Gloria Pointer in Cleveland went unsolved for 29 years before a man was finally caught and convicted.

The brutal rape and murder might send some mothers into a dark spiral, but not Yvonne Pointer.

A documentary on some of her compassionate work since made its world premier at the Cleveland International Film Festival last week.

"In 2003, Anthony Tay, a young boy in Ghana West Africa, saw this piece of paper laying on the ground," Yvonne's voice narrates in the  trailer for 'The Enlightenment Project'.  "The paper talked about the brutal rape and murder of Gloria Pointer. In the bottom of this piece of paper was my address."

Tay used the address to write Yvonne and express how the murder made him want to help the children of Ghana.

That was the beginning of a relationship that has literally changed lives out of tragedy.

Since then, Yvonne in Cleveland and Anthony in Ghana have worked together to raise money for things like food, clothes and school supplies for the children of West Africa.

Then the ultimate: in 2015, Yvonne and 22 others traveled to Ghana to cut the ribbon on a brand new school named for her daughter Gloria.

On that trip were two brothers who are filmmakers from Los Angeles, originally from Cleveland, D'Angelo and Martel McCornell.

"Once we got there we were refreshed because we were like now we can really do something," D'Angelo said about the long trip to Ghana. "Now we can really see what the rest of the world may not be able to see if our eyes weren't here."

The short film is powerful. So much so it just won Best Ohio Short at the Cleveland International Film Festival this past weekend.

Yvonne was there, as the next piece of Gloria's legacy was put in place.

"When we were at the Film Fest the other day watching it, there was a young lady in the audience from Mexico," Yvonne said. "She came up to me with tears, and she said there are so many children in Mexico that I would love to do something like this for. And guess what I said to her. You can do it. So what does it mean to me? It says to the average person that you can be the change that you expect to see in this world."

For The Next Level Brothers, this was their first big win at a film festival, and they credit the message.

"One person can make a difference. And to add to that no matter what you've been through no matter what tragedy you've been through, there can always be something positive that can happen out of that depending on your will and your heart," Martel said.

For Yvonne, her foundation and the memory of her daughter, they're not done yet.

Now with four schools in operation, the next step she said is to try and build an orphanage in Ghana.

"It's been a long road for you," reporter Dan DeRoos said to Yvonne.

"And the road seems to keep traveling," was her reply.

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