Blood Brother opens on the late night torment of an old man pacing, helpless as a lethargic child writhes on the floor of one of those ramshackle, third-world shanties. Help arrives in the form of a young man on a moped, who encourages the grey haired, wiry patriarch to carry the child so the three of them can ride the moped into the city, where help might be waiting. As they approach the city and traffic grinds to a halt, the old man steps off the bike to check her condition. He’s holding out the naked, lifeless body of the girl. Her head flops back. The young man urges him to wrap her in her blanket and get back on.
Showing 5/7 ONLY, 7pm, at WAMC’s The Linda, in Albany.
Filmmaker Steve Hoover left the comforts of his life and friends here in America to spends a few months documenting his friend Rocky Braat who was moving permanently to India to work with terminally ill orphans. As a disaffected Gen-Y’er, Rocky first encountered these underprivileged castaways during a spur of the moment trip abroad. He quickly became devoted to them and left everything behind.
Life can’t get much more wretched, yet this is where Rocky finds life most fulfilling. One might wonder why anyone would leave the relative wealth and opportunity abundant here in America to volunteer in a facility that doesn’t even have running water. Why anyone might feel most comfortable surrounded in the modern day equivalent of a leper colony. Hoover’s documentary shows how easily Rocky finds this place his home.
Blood Brother is Hoover’s first feature film, though it’s technical sophistication belies his art school education and extensive experience making commercials and music videos. The film looks as polished as the story is compelling. Intimate conversations are shot close, emotional moments are filmed from the respectable distance of a concerned observer, and wide shots capture the environments where these people live. It’s not so much grand as it is curious, and watching it puts the viewer in a constant state of urgency. We feel we should jump in and help, even more frustrated with the secondary awareness we’re restricted by the requirement to remain in our seats.
Production for this film was entirely funded through donations, and no debt was left to be repaid. All profits from the film are donated to the orphanage and children with HIV in India. More information is available at www.givethemlight.org
Blood Brother portrays the life of children left in the most squalid, desperate conditions, the joy and spirit they possess in spite of it, and how Rocky is transformed into a greater person because of it. Blood Brother is showing tonight at WAMC’s The Linda, in Albany. Tickets are $8, and include food samples from Honest Weight Food Co-op and an open panel discussion.