Director Steve Hoover, film subject Rocky Braat and producer Danny Yourd met when attending the Art Institute of Pittsburgh. Ten years later, they found themselves on a journey to support Braat and his mission to help the AIDs and HIV-affected children of India.
Yourd and Hoover were hired by the same production company, Animal, in Pittsburgh. Using their newly acquired skills and connections, they decided to create the documentary.
“We’re a creative team, our strengths and weaknesses balance each others,” Yourd said, “We’re a partnership, not a collaboration.”
For Hoover, this was his first documentary project. Having his subject be a close friend made him feel relaxed. “Where with other people there is a limit, because I was close friends with Rocky, I had complete access to the subject,” Hoover said.
The trip to India with Rocky was also Hoover’s first time ever being in a third world country. “It immediately changed my everyday perspective,” Hoover said, “I had a personal connection to what Rocky was doing.” Hoover went on to say that seeing Braat’s work firsthand made him understand the significance.
“So many things just happen when you’re filming a documentary,” Yourd said, “ Everything could potentially 180 and any plans you had change in an instant.” Yourd and Hoover went on to say that when you’re dealing with real people in real situations, it’s better to just be prepared and try not to make prediction when creating a documentary.
“Winning at Sundance [Film Festival] was a major surprise to us, we had no idea where this film was going to go,” Yourd said.
Braat’s original intention for travelling to India was never clear. He purchased a one-way ticket to India and wanted to experience the culture. “He was Mr. National Geographic,” Yourd said. “A lot of his inspiration came after seeing a documentary about Mother Teresa.”
While Braat was in India, he found the orphanage for kids with HIV and AIDs and felt like he could make a difference there.
There is a non-profit organization, LIGHT, that receives all of the proceeds from the filming to support Braat’s work. The money is used to keep Braat in India and fund his projects for the children in the orphanage.
“Originally we were just giving donations just for kids to buy eggs and toothpaste,” said David Tharp. Tharp is an adult studies student and personal friend of Hoover, producer Danny Yourd and film subject Rocky Braat. “Since the film has come out, it’s not about eggs and toothpaste anymore; it’s about medicine that will change their lives,” Tharp said.
The amount of funding the organization has received has allowed Braat to start working on small business for the children to learn how to operate.
There are currently no plans to follow up Blood Brother with a second film. Updates on Rocky’s work will come via social media outlets such as Facebook and Twitter.
According to the press kit, Braat is currently working on developing education plans for the children because of their possibility for longer life.