The Messengers (trailer)
The Messengers, a 52 minute documentary by Lucian Perkins, takes us on an intimate three-year journey through the maze of emotions and hard truths that exist inside the walls of Joseph’s House – a hospice for homeless men and women with end-stage AIDS and terminal cancer. There, we meet two young volunteers: Cameron, a 20-year-old well-intentioned, but naive college dropout; and 23-year-old Brittney who has a firm belief about her mission in life. What both of them soon learn is that death holds many revelations that alter their assumptions about the world and redefine their place in it. The dying become teachers, opening the volunteers’ eyes to the important connections that death can bring to life.
Death, of course, is what happens at Joseph’s House, and this film doesn’t shy away from it. As we follow Cameron and Brittney’s journey, we experience their growth and discover first-hand how every death carries with it its own lesson about compassion and life.
The Syrian Refugee Crisis
2.5 million Syrians have fled the brutal civil war in their country and some 9 million are displaced from their homes creating the gravest humanitarian catastrophe the world has faced since the Darfur crisis a decade ago and the Rwandan and Balkan tragedies two decades ago. Michael Abramowitz, Director of the Center for the Prevention of Genocide for the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, takes a first hand look by visiting Jordan, a neighboring country that has already taken in over 600,000 refugees.
Trailer: The Brilliance of My World
“The world is full of chaos and craziness. My world is full of logic and beauty. And the more I can make my outside world like my inner world, the easier my life is, the happier I am. Therefore I desperately build the life of my dreams. … I wish that for all of you, that you find your dream. That you desperately cling to that dream and that you make it because it will keep you sane.”
– Chou Chou Scantlin
This enlightening documentary takes us inside the world of Chou Chou Scantlin, a big band singer and highly articulate autistic adult. We learn of the crucial role her mother played into helping Chou Chou bridge her world with ours and how her match with Doc, made in “Toontown,” gave her love, a livelihood and a mission. We share with Chou Chou her discovery of embracing her autism as she reaches out to others like her. And we spend time with Chou Chou and Doc at home, on the road and on stage, to share in the magic they have both created and to witness the challenges they face to keep their dream alive. This documentary will challenge our notions of “normal” and of what constitutes a full life. With Chou Chou, we wade into an emotional debate over the identity of high-functioning autistic adults and, perhaps, gain an opportunity to look at the world and ourselves in a fresh way.
Remote Area Medical Serves a Rural Virginia Community
Stan Brock, founder of Remote Area Medical, piloted his DC-3 into Wise, Virginia, to lead a free medical clinic supported by hundreds of volunteer doctors, dentist, nurses, students and other health professionals. Nearly 3,000 people showed up for medical needs at the three-day clinic. “I just look at these people and I hurt,” said volunteer dentist Wallace Huff, “because they’re such good people and hard working people…and I just want to do all I can do and I want to do more.” RAM holds clinics throughout the United States as well as other countries such as Guyana and Haiti.
Sudan at the Crossroads
This is an excerpt from a film that I shot, edited and produced for the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum on the risks for Sudan as Southern Sudan prepares to split from the rest of the country.
Backstage at the Big Apple Circus
Go behind the scenes with this amazing circus.
A Mother’s Fight Against Childhood Obesity
Sonya Branch-Johnson remembers a visit to her doctor and watched as he wrote “obese” on her chart. At 300 pounds, she didn’t see herself that way. “I would put on heels and you couldn’t tell me I couldn’t fly.” She continues, “Even in a size 28, I thought I was amazing.”
Her journey to lose weight and inspire others began that day. First she experienced denial, then recognition, and finally determination to change for the sake of her children. “I never thought that I didn’t love my kids, I never thought I wasn’t a good mom. I always pushed that they get a good education. I never thought that I wasn’t teaching them to live healthy. I never thought that was something that I was doing wrong.“ She summarizes, “to be a role model for your kids, you’ve got to make those changes yourself.” According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about one third of Americans are obese, including twelve and half million children and adolescents. The South as a region has the highest percentages, and no state nationwide is under 20%. These numbers have dramatically grown over the last generation; 1996 was the last year when no state was over 20%. First Lady Michelle Obama has made the struggle against obesity her signature issue, and drew criticism from conservative voices like Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck, and Rush Limbaugh, on the grounds that her Let’s Move campaign is another permutation of intrusive government. In a rare display of common sense bi-partisanship, however, Mike Huckabee, Rick Santorum, and Haley Barbour all defended Mrs. Obama. Only time will tell if the epidemic can be reversed. Today Sonya is helping children at Mt. Washington Pediatric Hospital in Baltimore overcome their obesity. “I’m kind of that person that in the background is saying, you can do this and in a way, I’m saying to myself that I wish I had that person for me…and that’s what drives me, I’ll do anything for these kids. We can’t quit on them.”