As tragic as are the stories of adults with HIV, those involving children –and orphaned children at that – who are HIV-positive are even more heart-breaking, and rarely if ever told. Blood Brother, the newest entry in the Independent Lens series on PBS, tells that story, and does it by following a remarkable young man from Pittsburgh who gave up everything to help such afflicted children in India.
Rocky Braat is that man, and his good friend director Steve Hoover was so moved by Rocky's selflessness that he followed him to India to chronicle his story. And what a story it is: a deeply moving, heart-rending yet also incredibly uplifting tale of both how a jaded, disillusioned and lost young man helped those in dire need – and at the same time was himself given a new outlook and purpose on life by the very children he came to aid.
Rocky: I was moved by my entire experience in India, but there are two very moving scenes in Blood Brother for me. The death of Vemethi was especially troubling because I had never witnessed a child dying. It was especially difficult because I had known her prior to her death, she wasn't a complete stranger. It was sad to know that she didn't have to die, it could have been prevented. The most victorious and moving scene to me, though, was Surya's entire hospital experience. I have too much to say about it all, but there's nothing more inspiring than seeing someone come so close to death, then turning the corner and coming back to life. Despair to hope, it was a glorious time.
I hope that the film not only deeply benefits the subjects, giving them more resources and opportunities for life, but also hope the film will inspire audiences on a personal level. I don't have specifics for what I want people to do with that inspiration; I believe that's up to the individual to figure that out. However, we do have outlets for people to get involved to help with the causes and people in the film.