A new film by HBO Documentaries, "Making The Crooked Straight," recently premiered at the HBO's Midtown headquarters on 42nd Street. It is the story of an American doctor, Rick Hodes, who serves the sick and poor of Ethiopia.
The film was produced and directed by Susan Cohn Rockefeller, the wife of the first cousin once removed of my brother-in-law.
"This film is about an extraordinary man named Dr. Rick Hodes. He has adopted and fostered about 20 children, he lives in Ethiopia in Addis Ababa, he works in the Mother Teresa Mission," says Rockefeller. "I went over to film him, I was very interested in how one person can change lives."
"For me to see myself on screen is astounding," says Hodes. "I never thought I would make it to any screen except a home movie, because I think that it really spreads the word about what's going on there."
Rockefeller, who has made a series of films that have social impact, is following in her in-laws' philanthropic activities."It's also a movie about a man who has great faith. He's an orthodox Jew and he has in his home Christians and Muslims," she says. "And so it's a story about tolerance, it's a story about education."
Dejene Hodes, one of the children adopted by the doctor, attended the premiere.
"I had a 90-degree back and [Rick Hodes] basically took me out of the streets and moved me into his house and got me surgery and I'm still alive because of him," he says.
The doctor is inspired by Dr. Albert Schweitzer, a pioneer who also brought medical help to people in Africa.
"Albert Schweitzer is really a hero. Albert Schweitzer got on a boat and didn't know whether he was going to get off two weeks later," says Hodes. "I get on KLM, and after two meals and a movie, get off the plane and complain that I'm jet lagged. So Albert Schweitzer is a high-level guy."
The African musician Suzo, whose music is in the film, played at the opening.
"Making The Crooked Straight" will be on HBO On Demand through May 15.