Sunday, March 23, 2008

Doc screening at On Location next Sunday

From the producer:

My name is Teresa Hagen, and I recently completed a documentary film, "To Touch the Soul," which follows Brazilian-born California State University, Long Beach Professor of Art Education Carlos Silveira and 27 students, among them several Cambodian Americans, who traveled to Cambodia to create art projects with children impacted by HIV/AIDS. The film is scheduled to screen on Sunday, March 30, 1:10 p.m., Malco Studio on the Square, as part of the On Location: Memphis International Film Festival.

Cambodia's HIV/AIDS rate among it's 14 million population is the highest in Southeast Asia, and the dire circumstances of the country's poor children leave them the most vulnerable to this unforgiving disease. 15,000 children are infected with HIV/AIDS or have lost their parents to the disease (77,000, a number which is expected to increase an additional 108,700 over the next five years.) But there is hope.

Our film team was privileged to follow Dr. Silveira and his students as they worked with two groups of children who are reaping the benefits of care and medicine provided by non-governmental organizations, in this case, Maryknoll Mission’s Little Sprouts and Little Folks. Seeing these children happy and joyous despite their or their parents’ HIV status was wondrous to behold, and our story became more about how these children, some abandoned by their families and all by society, taught the Americans about life, love and happiness. They became the mentors who empowered the Americans to turn outward from themselves and realize a global need for their energy, passion and new ideas.

Because of this focus, the story is told primarily through voiceover diary entries, written by the students themselves, as well as interviews and interaction with the children as Silveira and the students create art projects with them, forming an emotional bond.

You may wish to visit The film has already won seven awards including Best Documentary at the Wild Rose Independent Film Festival in Des Moines, Iowa, an Accolade Competition Best of Show award and, most recently, an Honorable Mention at the Byron Bay (Australia) Film Festival.

I will be arriving very late Friday night, the 28th, for the festival to attend the screening.

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