In southeastern Africa, the landlocked and densely populated country of Malawi is under severe distress. In a country of 12 million people, an unprecedented one million-plus children have been orphaned by AIDS, and malnutrition and inadequate medical treatment still run rampant. The multitalented Madonna assumes one of her most impactful roles yet as writer, producer, and narrator of this eye-opening and heart-wrenching documentary. Under the confident direction of first-timer Nathan Rissman, we journey with Madonna as she exposes the harsh realities of a half-forgotten country by introducing us to its future-Malawi's children. As she bears witness to the lives of these special children and their extraordinary will to survive, Madonna shares her own personal thoughts, making for an incredibly intimate and emotional cinematic experience. While analyzing all sides of the dilemma and the cultural challenges facing Malawi as it relates to the world, the film is a testament to human interconnectivity and social responsibility-a call to action wrapped in a well crafted and visually beautiful film. Leading experts such as President Bill Clinton, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Professor Jeffrey Sachs, and Dr. Paul Farmer offer memorable insight, but the real driving force of the film is undoubtedly the children's riveting stories, which will stir audiences and, at best, rouse them to action.
Nathan Rissman picked up a camera with no formal training and started making short films to entertain himself and his employer, Madonna. Born and raised in Seattle, he moved to London and worked for Madonna as a research assistant, art director, video archivist, gardener, and even a nanny. When Madonna decided to establish her foundation in Malawi and document the lives and hardships of children orphaned by AIDS in Sub-Saharan Africa, she asked Nathan to direct a film that would encompass her vision. Nathan's commitment to promoting change is fundamental to the ethos of his current and future projects.