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BENDING THE ARC

Synopsis

Thirty years ago, a group of improbable heroes came together on a mission that was both medical and moral, and, by everyone’s estimation other than their own, highly unlikely to succeed. Their goal was simple but daring: to make high quality healthcare available to everyone, even in the world’s poorest countries. Fighting entrenched diseases, political and bureaucratic machinery, and the charity-industrial complex itself, these crusaders forced the international community to embrace the idea that health care must be a basic human right in every society, and went ahead to provide it. In doing so, they have changed the lives of millions of people across the globe. Told through interviews, rare archival material and on-the-ground contemporary footage featuring Dr. Paul Farmer (legendary founder of Partners In Health), Dr. Jim Yong Kim (maverick President of the World Bank), and Dr. Agnes Binagwaho (controversial Health Minister of Rwanda), the film is an emotionally charged, dramatic and inspiring journey with these brilliant and headstrong heroes.

The Filmmakers

Kief Davidson Director

Kief Davidson is an Academy Award®-nominated director who makes films that inspire and entertain.

Kief is currently in post-production on IVORY, about undercover intelligence operatives in Africa, Asia and Europe who are who are taking down the Ivory cartels as rangers and activists fight for the species survival. Co-produced by Red Bull’s Terra Mater Studios and Vulcan Productions, the film will make its world Premiere in fall, 2016.

His prior film A LEGO BRICKUMENTARY – released theatrically by Radius/TWC. Narrated by Jason Bateman, the film delves into the extraordinary impact of the LEGO brick, its massive global fan base, and the innovative uses for it that have sprung up around the world.

Kief also directed OPEN HEART, which was nominated for Best Documentary Short Subject of the 85th Academy Awards®. The film took him and a small crew to the heart of Rwanda and Sudan. They followed eight children on a perilous journey to get high-risk surgery at Africa’s only high-tech, free-of-charge heart surgery hospital. The film made its US broadcast debut on HBO and internationally on ARTE Germany/France.

Kief is concurrently filming a companion film to OPEN HEART, about Dr. Paul Farmer and his organization Partners In Health, produced by Matt Damon in collaboration with the Sundance Institute, Skoll Foundation and Tribeca Gucci.

Kief has had international success from the award-winning feature-length documentaries, KASSIM THE DREAM and THE DEVIL’S MINER. KASSIM THE DREAM, about a former child soldier turned boxing champion of the World, premiered at the Tribeca film festival and won over 10 international film festivals, including AFI, IDFA and Silver Docs. A co-production with ARTE Germany/France, the film was theatrically released by IFC Films.

His first feature, THE DEVIL’S MINER, made its world premiere at the Rotterdam Film Festival and won over 15 awards at international film festivals including Tribeca, Hot Docs, Chicago and Woodstock. The film was nominated for Best Documentary by The Director’s Guild of America and Won the coveted Fipresci Prize at Hot Docs, Toronto.

In advertising, Kief is represented by acclaimed production company Park Pictures where he has directed commercials for global brands such as GE, Toyota, Absolut and Facebook.

Pedro Kos Director

PEDRO KOS is an award winning director and editor living in Los Angeles.  Most recently, Pedro edited Jehane Noujaim’s Academy Award and Spirit Award nominee, THE SQUARE which also won the DGA and IDA Award for best Feature Documentary film, the Documentary People’s Choice Award at the 2013 Toronto Film Festival, and earned Pedro an Emmy Award for Best Editing for a Non-Fiction program.  

Pedro’s other work includes editing the Academy Award nominated documentary feature WASTE LAND, directed by Lucy Walker, for which he also won the Cinema Brazil Grand Prize for best documentary editing. The film went on to win Audience Awards at both the 2010 Sundance Film Festival and Berlin Film Festival, and the IDA Award for best feature documentary film. Pedro also edited Ms. Walker’s documentary feature film, THE CRASH REEL, which won the Audience Award at the 2013 South by Southwest Film Festival. Prior to that he edited Jon Shenk’s, THE ISLAND PRESIDENT (2011 Toronto Film Festival Documentary People’s Choice Award winner).  Additional past work from Pedro includes ELEMENTAL, directed by Emmanuel Vaughan-Lee and Gayatri Roshan and Freida Mock’s SING CHINA!, on both of which he also served as 2nd Unit Director.  In 2008, Pedro was the 2nd unit director on Jessica Sanders’ MARCH OF THE LIVING.

Pedro was born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and raised both there and in New York City and Miami, Florida. He received his B.A. in Theater Directing from Yale University.

Cori Shepherd Stern Producer

Cori Shepherd Stern is an Oscar-nominated film producer as well as a social change strategist. Her 2013 Academy Award-nominated documentary OPEN HEART focused on health care and social justice through the lens of rheumatic heart disease in Africa and access to quality care. She is currently filming BENDING THE ARC, a feature documentary about the epic arc of the global health & social justice movement.  Additional current projects include ARIZONA, a scripted film in development with Miramax based on the true store of the founding of Investigative Reporters and Editors (IRE); and a scripted feature film in development with Rocklin/Faust (SPOTLIGHT) based on a 2015 Pulitzer-Prize winning investigative journalism series. Past projects include WARM BODIES, a major scripted feature film released by Summit Entertainment, as well as award-winning groundbreaking virtual reality films including COLLISIONS and FRANCIS. She has been a speaker at global convenings including the Skoll World Forum and the Aspen Institute's Ideas Festival. Her work in social change with her organization The Strongheart Group has been covered by NPR, BBC, CNN, the Oprah Winfrey Show, and National Geographic. Cori has a first-look deal with Rocklin/Faust, the Oscar-winning team behind the critically-acclaimed film SPOTLIGHT.

Festivals & Awards

Sundance Film Festival

2017

As the poorest nations battled intractable diseases, a fledgling group of unstoppable health advocates took on a seemingly impossible mission: global health equity. In 1980s Haiti, in a remote region devastated first by tuberculosis and later by AIDS, Harvard medical student Paul Farmer, idealistic physician Jim Yong Kim, and activist Ophelia Dahl successfully raised funding and opened a clinic—but their patients weren’t surviving after returning home from treatment. The team eventually realized that clinical treatment wasn’t enough; they needed to radically change the way they interacted with the community. Through dramatically increased cultural sensitivity, pointed listening skills, local partnerships, and home visits, prognoses improved mightily, and the revolutionary Partners In Health was born.

Kief Davidson and Pedro Kos’s revelatory, vigorously researched documentary follows the dramatic success of a hands-on community health model that has, since its first project, rescued millions of lives. From a deadly multidrug-resistant TB epidemic in 1990s Peru to the first Ebola cases in Rwanda, this approach, and the intrepid team that envisioned it, transformed global health.

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