Open Heart is the story of eight Rwandan children who leave their families behind and embark on a life-or-death journey to receive high-risk open-heart surgery in Africa’s only free-of-charge, state-ofthe- art cardiac hospital, the Salam Center run by Emergency, an Italian NGO. Their heart valves, damaged and weakened by rheumatic heart disease, which develops from untreated childhood strepthroat, leave them lethargic and weak. Some of the children have only months to live. During their cross-continental journey, Open Heart reveals the intertwined endeavors of Dr. Emmanuel Rusingiza, Rwanda’s lone, overworked public cardiologist, and Dr. Gino Strada, the Salam Center’s head surgeon. As one of Emergency’s founders, he must fight not just for the children’s lives but for the tenuous financial future of the hospital.
2013 – Academy Awards – nominated for Best Documentary, Short Subjects
2013 – Aspen Shorts fest – Audience Recognition
Boulder International Film Festival -BIFF Award for Best Documentary Short Film;
Newport Beach Film Festival – Jury Award for Best Short Documentary