Open Heart is the story of eight Rwandan children who embark on a life-saving journey to receive open-heart surgery in Africa’s only free, state-of-the-art cardiac hospital, the Salam Center in Sudan. The children have rheumatic heart disease, which often develops from untreated strep throat – a completely preventable condition if antibiotics like penicillin are available. Now, in order to save his young patients’ lives, Dr. Emmanuel Rusingiza, Rwanda’s lone public cardiologist, teams up with Dr. Gino Strada, the Salam Center’s head surgeon. Strada must also fight for the tenuous financial future of the government-supported hospital, which means negotiating with Sudan’s President Omar Hassan al-Bashir – a man wanted by the international criminal court for “crimes against humanity.” This heartfelt 40-minute Oscar® nominee (Short Subject Documentary) highlights the bravery of the children as they go under the knife in a foreign place without family to hold their hands, as well as that of their parents, who know too well that they might never see their child again but are giving them a precious chance for a healthy future.
Credits: Produced and Directed by Kief Davidson; Producer, Cori Shepherd Stern; Executive Producer, Geralyn Dreyfous; Edited by Flavia de Souza, Kief Davidson; Director of Photography: Zak Mulligan.