(Cyndi Atherton – Heising-Simons Foundation, Scott Fisher, Ph.D., Charity Woodrum, Diana Jenkins, Sandy Cummings | Photo courtesy of Sandy Cummings)
Space, Hope and Charity follows Charity Woodrum’s remarkable journey through childhood poverty in rural Oregon, through tragedy, to following her dream of becoming an astrophysicist. Her story is a profile in resilience and testament to the power of human connection. “I decided to share my very personal story in the hope it would help others who are facing their own difficulties. I couldn’t have gotten through what I did alone.”
Woodrum was a nontraditional student, the first in her family to graduate from high school, married and a new mom. Her life felt perfect in 2017. She had completed a NASA internship and her husband Jayson Thomas and three-year-old son Woody were happy. Then, what Woodrum calls, “the worst day.” Her husband and son died tragically. With help from childhood friends, mentors and perfect strangers, Woodrum was able to get her life, and her dream, back on track. “I honestly couldn’t believe the kindness of strangers.”
Woodrum is now working as part of the James Webb Space Telescope Near Infrared Camera Team at the University of Arizona. She’s thrilled that as a result of the film, she was able to establish an education fund in memory of her son, called Woody’s Stars, with help from the Roundhouse Foundation.
The feature documentary film was directed, produced and written by Bend resident Sandy Cummings. “We’re thrilled to have been selected to screen during BendFilm, which we consider our home audience,” said Cummings. “Charity has spent a lot of time in Bend and worked summers at Pine Mountain Observatory when she was a student at the University of Oregon, so screening in Bend is a great fit.” The film has been accepted into numerous festivals and won “Most Inspirational Film” at the Prescott Film Festival and “Best Southern Feature” at the Klamath Independent Film Festival.
The BendFilm screening is Sunday, October 15 at 10am at the Regal Cinemas in the Old Mill District. Woodrum, Cummings, Editor Diana Jenkins and Woodrum’s University of Oregon advisor/mentor Scott Fisher, Ph.D. will participate in a panel after the screening.
Tickets are available at bendfilm.org/2023-bendfilm-festival.
The documentary was supported by the Heising-Simons Foundation, Roundhouse Foundation, Starview Foundation, and Research Corporation for Science Advancement.