LAWRENCE – Telling the story of a young man escaping a troubled past, “Blood Brother” follows the journey of Rocky Braat as he leaves his life in the United States to live with a group of HIV-positive children in an orphanage in India. This unknown documentary won the Sundance 2013 Grand Jury Prize and the Sundance 2013 Audience Award, as well as a host of other awards at film festivals across the country. The University of Kansas Department of Film and Media Studies will host a screening of the film Thursday, Sept. 11, at Liberty Hall.
Doors will open at 6:30 p.m., with the screening at 7 p.m. This event is free and open to the public.
“Opportunities like these are so enriching to film and media studies students, as well as students across KU. We strive to connect storytelling with real people and situations that students can learn from,” said Tamara Falicov, chair and associate professor of film and media studies. “I know our students will benefit from seeing how a low-budget documentary, shot in a personal style with an interesting main character, can teach us something about the power of digital storytelling.”
Immediately following the screening, Dr. Subbarao Polineni, of St. Louis, will talk about his current efforts to build a school for children very much like those in the film. Polineni grew up in a small hut in India not far from where the school he built now stands. Polineni was fortunate to have an uncle pay for his education, and he hopes to provide more opportunities like he was given for the children of his hometown.
The event is presented by KU Film and Media Studies, KU International Programs, KU Center for Global & International Studies, KU South Asian Studies, Bright Light Foundation, Tugg, and the Polineni family.
The funding of “Blood Brother” was supported through donations, allowing the proceeds to be used to help support the orphanage and the children with HIV in India, as well as Braat and his continuing efforts. Filmmakers have partnered with several nonprofits to help with some of their goals: The Red Hot Organization and ACT V: The End of AIDS. LIGHT (Living to Inspire Global Healing Today) is a 501c3 accredited nonprofit organization created in response to the film as a way to directly help and support Braat, the children and other orphanages.
Bright Life Foundation is a nonprofit, nonpolitical organization dedicated to improving the lives of “at-risk” children in the United States and India. The inaugural project serves such a population including orphans, street children and those infected with or affected by HIV in Andhra Pradesh, India. The organization is committed to providing children a free education of the highest-quality room and board, health care, and counseling services to empower them with tools for a brighter future. Visit brightlifefoundation.org for more information.
The Department of Film & Media Studies is one of four departments in the School of the Arts. As part of the KU College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the School of the Arts offers fresh possibilities for collaboration between the arts and the humanities, sciences, social sciences, international and interdisciplinary studies.