ABOUT THE FILM
Seven years in the making, this award-winning documentary takes viewers on an intimate journey into the lives of three refugees who now call America home. At the center of it all is a remarkable health clinic tucked away in St. Paul, Minnesota, which serves as a crossroads for these embattled refugees and their devoted doctors.
We get a glimpse of the failing health and remarkable lives of Thor Lem, a former political prisoner from Cambodia; Patrick Junior, a member of an oppressed ethnic minority in Burma; and Alex Gliptis, an Ethiopian refugee suffering from PTSD, diabetes and HIV. The health care challenges they face are daunting, made more complicated by the trauma they carry from the past. Throughout the course of the film, they all face life-threatening health emergencies, and their trajectories prove surprising even to their doctors.
American Heart was unveiled as a part of the 2013 Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Festival, where it was invited back for "Best of Fest" Week and earned an Audience Choice Award. On the heels of a successful film festival run, where the film took home six documentary prizes in all, American Heart accepted invitations to screen at Global Health events around the country including a Washington DC symposium convened by the U.S. Department of State. American Heart enjoyed a nationwide television broadcast on the PBS series America ReFramed in 2015, and the film received a regional EMMY® Award in the Topical Documentary category.
American Heart is directed by Minneapolis filmmaker Chris Newberry, edited by St. Paul’s Bill Kersey, and executive-produced by Melody Gilbert. The HealthPartners Center for International Health, in St. Paul, serves a diverse population of refugees and immigrants from around the world.
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