We spoke with filmmaker Steve Hoover about NFF18 film Blood Brother to learn more about the inspiration for the film and Steve's personal connection to the subject matter.
Winner of the Audience and Grand Jury Awards at Sundance, Blood Brother is an intimate portrait of Rocky Braat, a young man who longs to find a family. Hoping to clear his mind, Rocky travels to India as a tourist. He visits an orphanage for children with HIV and, after a couple of months of repeat visits, decides to stay and devote his life to them. Rocky’s playful spirit and determination prove invaluable in the face of despair and formidable challenges.
Learn more about Rocky and Steve below, and check out this powerful film at NFF 2013!
NFF: What was the biggest thing you learned through the making of the film?
Hoover: I'm not entirely sure how to sum this up or how to pick the biggest thing. I learned a lot about my friend and the depth of his love and commitment to a group of kids that need him as much as he needs them. I learned a lot about HIV/AIDS and it's ravishing side effects not only on the body but on families and societies as well. I learned a lot about documentary filmmaking, the true power and value of sharing real stories. I also learned a lot about myself, strengths and weaknesses that I was previously unaware of. The entire process, even the aftermath of making the film, is proving to be a great lesson as a whole.
NFF: How often are you in contact with Rocky? Has the film strengthened or put a strain on your relationship in any way?
Hoover: Rocky and I usually talk once a week depending on our schedules. I went back to visit him this past December for five weeks to share the film with the kids and everyone at the home. Also, my wife and I got 10 year visas so we can go back as much as possible. I would say that making the film strengthened our friendship more than the finished film. The process of being there with Rocky and seeing first hand what he does helped me to understand him on a deeper level. It gave me a tremendous amount of respect for him, his life and the choices he's made. For me, the film is an homage to Rocky.
NFF: What do you hope audiences take away from the film? Where can they learn more?
Hoover: I hope audiences are inspired and moved by Rocky's story. I hope they see the genuineness and value in Rocky's efforts and possibly consider how they themselves can make a difference. For each person though, I believe it will be something different. I would like for people to care about this particular cause, children around the world afflicted by HIV/AIDS…but I hope it doesn't stop there.