Nashville Public Television has chosen SONS OF LWALA, a documentary film by Nashville director and producer Barry Simmons, as the 2008 recipient of its NPT Human Spirit Award.
The NPT Human Spirit Award, presented each year by Nashville Public Television to a Nashville Film Festival selection, acknowledges a filmmaker’s work that best explores and captures the human spirit. The film must illuminate in a high artistic manner the important characteristics of what it means to be human: generosity, kindness, mercy, compassion, fortitude and honor. The award will be presented to Simmons prior to the April 21, 9:00 p.m. Nashville Film Festival screening of SONS OF LWALA at Regal Green Hills Cinemas.
“When an inspired filmmaker tells an inspiring story, we are all changed,” said Beth Curley, Nashville Public Television President and CEO. “The story of the Ochieng’ brothers was ripe for mining, and in Barry Simmons’ passionate and caring hands, we are eyewitnesses to their dream as it happens. We become a part of their journey and want to join the chorus of supportive people they meet along the way. Sons of Lwala, in its documenting of the Ochieng’ brothers and their mission, truly embodies what it means to be human. We are pleased to formally join the chorus of those who sing its praises.”
SONS OF LWALA tells the story of Vanderbilt University Medical School students Milton and Fred Ochieng’, two brothers from Kenya whose village sent them to America to become doctors. After losing both parents to AIDS, they are left with the heartbreaking task of returning home to finish the health clinic their father started before getting sick. Unable to raise enough money on their own, the brothers are joined by students, politicians and rock musicians who put on fundraising drives throughout the United States. SONS OF LWALA follows Milton and Fred on their incredible journey as they find a way, despite all odds, to open their village’s first hospital.
The NPT Human Spirit Award comes with a $1,000 prize and Nashville Public Television’s intention to broadcast the film so that others may celebrate the generous role that great filmmaking plays in our lives. Last year’s award winner, THE CLINTON 12, aired on NPT and many public television stations nationwide in February 2008.
The Nashville Film Festival takes place April 17-24, 2008 at the Regal Green Hills Cinemas.