The Starfish Throwers
The documentary “The Starfish Throwers,” produced by documentary filmmaker and JMC Department Chair Melody Gilbert and directed by Emmy Award winning filmmaker Jesse Roesler, is an inspiring and life enriching film about three individuals who work tirelessly to fight hunger in their own communities. The AUBG Documentary Movie Club organized a screening of the film on Nov. 17 in BAC.
The idea of the documentary was first born when Roesler heard about a van named “Love One Another.” The van was driven by Allan Law , a retired middle school teacher, who was delivering more than a thousand sandwiches a day to the homeless people in his community. Allan’s willingness to help others 24 hours per day deprived him from sleeping in his own bed and looking after his health. Amazed by the will and dedication of Allan, the director searched for other people, who are also committed to making a positive change in their community.
Katie Stagliano from North Carolina, was the second individual, who inspired the director. Stagliano was only nine-years-old when she first started caring for and helping others. Her motivation to grow vegetables in her own garden, and later in 70 more gardens, was initiated by a single cabbage, which she grew for a school project. When Stagliano’s cabbage already weighted 40 pounds, she decided to donate it to charity.
The director met his third character, Narayanan Krishnan, in India. Krishnan is a five-star chef, who cooks 365 days a year and feeds the homeless and starving people. Despite the fact that his parents and sister were not supportive of what he was doing, Krishnan never gave up. He shows great compassion toward the sick, homeless, elderly and mentally ill people and helping them makes him happy. Starting in 2002, when he utilized his personal savings, Krishnan fed around 30 people. A year after, he served over 1, 900, 000 homeless people. Krishnan didn’t only provide food for them, he also built the “Akshaya Trust Home,” which today shelters around 450 people in need.
The undeniable impact these three individuals had on their communities, didn’t remain unnoticed. The film won 11 awards so far. Some of the awards it won were: the Global Health Competition‘ in the Cleveland International Film Festival (2014), the Audience Choice Award and Best MN-Made Feature Documentary in the Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Festival (2014), the Human Spirit Award in the Nashville Film Festival (2014), Best Documentary in the Big Water Film Festival (2014) and many more.
The film also had its world premiere at the Thessaloniki Documentary Festival in Greece this March. The event is considered “one of the top documentary festivals in the world.” Twenty AUBG students were fortunate to be at the premiere in Thessaloniki along with filmmaker Prof. Melody Gilbert.
After the screening in BAC, Prof.Gilbert gathered some impressions of the film from the audience in written form. Everyone, who saw that documentary seemed to feel touched. Some of the comments were: “Love is contagious”, “Make a change! Every little thing matters.Don’t be passive.”
Another written comment said, “The film takes everyone on a journey of self-discovery guided by the inspirational example of three real-life heroes. It is tragically beautiful in the sense that it shows the world exactly as we know it and yet radically different making you re-evaluate not only your priorities but also your faith in human nature.”