The documentary "Open Heart," one of three nominees for this year’s Best Documentary Short Subject Oscar® debuts back-to-back Oct. 14 on HBO, along with “Mondays at Racine,” which debuts at 9:00 p.m., and “Redemption,” debuting at 9:40 p.m.
Other October presentations in the HBO Documentary Films fall series include “Valentine Road” (Oct. 7), “Life According to Sam” (Oct. 21) and “Seduced and Abandoned” (Oct. 28).
"Open Heart" takes viewers inside Sudan’s Salam Centre for Cardiac Emergency, the only hospital on the entire continent that provides free heart surgery for patients from poverty-stricken regions.
Dr. Gino Strada, an Italian war surgeon who believes “the right to receive proper health care is a universal right,” founded the non-governmental organization Emergency, which runs the Salam Center, funded by private donors and the Sudanese Government.
Ranging in age from three to 19, eight children who suffer from rheumatic heart disease are selected by Dr. Emmanuel Rusingiza, Rwanda’s lone public cardiologist, to travel the long distance to the state-of-the-art Salam Center.
It may seem like the chance of a lifetime, yet doing so means going under the knife in a foreign place without the comfort of family. The father of Angelique, a six-year-old deemed to be in critical condition, is afraid, but says, “I am ready to accept what happens to her,” a testament to the bravery of the children and parents alike.
Given the critical condition of his patients, Dr. Strada is frequently skeptical about their chances of success, but with the help of his medical team, he presses on, hoping for the best. However, his worries extend beyond the operating room.
While the young Rwandan patients are recovering, Dr. Strada and his team are visited by Sudan’s president, Hassan al-Bashir, who is wanted by the International Criminal Court for “crimes against humanity.”
When the Sudanese government’s $5 million-per-year commitment to Emergency is in jeopardy, so too is the Salam Centre’s future.
In a meeting with President al-Bashir, Dr. Strada vigorously pursues the funding. As the Rwandan children return home to the loving embraces of their families, the dedicated surgeons continue their fight to save lives.
For more information:
Facebook page: www.facebook.com/hbodocs
Twitter: @HBODocs #OpenHeart
Official Website: www.openheartfilm.com
SOURCE: HBO Documentary Films / David Magdael & Associates PR