Film festival prizes are lovely but they don't put food in the bellies of orphans in India -- at least not immediately.
The Pittsburgh makers of the documentary "Blood Brother" have found a way to raise money to cover a year's supply of eggs and milk for an Indian orphanage for children with HIV and AIDS, and that's just for starters.
Rocky Braat, a former Pittsburgher who found his calling in India and whose story is told in the movie, producer Danny Yourd and others have launched a crowd-funding effort on Rally.org. They are trying to cobble together $5,000 to buy more than 24,000 eggs and 11,000 milk packets for the orphanage featured in the movie, which won a pair of prestigious prizes at the Sundance Film Festival.
In 10 days, close to $3,500 has been raised and if -- or, perhaps, when -- the goal is reached, the filmmakers will identify another need and try to meet it through the online fundraising platform.
"We absolutely plan on starting another, still affiliated with the film," Mr. Yourd says, suggesting the orphanage could use a well on its property or money to support a better education for the children.
"Through the film, we have learned the power of generosity and asking," Mr. Yourd said. "From the start, 'Blood Brother' was a story we wanted to tell and share with people because it inspired us.
"So we involved people from the start by inviting them to be part of the moviemaking process through crowd-funding the film. So we feel connected to the audience of the film and we absolutely want to continue that," says Mr. Yourd. He and director Steve Hoover answer every email and manage the project's social media accounts.
For details on how to donate and how your money will be spent, go to https://rally.org/bloodbrother.
For instance, you will find the detail that each egg costs four rupees and the orphanage uses 66 per day at a cost of roughly $6 daily or $2,190 yearly. So, for the price of a fancy coffee drink and tip, you could feed an orphanage for a day.
The site accepts all major credit cards, donations from eCheck and provides secure processing. It charges a flat 5.75 percent transaction fee.
No word yet on theatrical distribution but the moviemakers could be close to striking a deal.
In the meantime, Mr. Hoover will be heading to Greece for the Thessaloniki Documentary Festival this month, and "Blood Brother" will be part of the 2013 Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival April 25 to May 5 in Toronto.
'Silk Screen' opener
The opening movie of the Silk Screen Film Festival, May 10-19 in Pittsburgh, will be "Midnight's Children" directed by Deepa Mehta. It will be shown on May 11, with the festival gala May 10.
The film is based on the Booker Prize-winning magical realist novel by Salman Rushdie. It follows a pair of children born at the stroke of midnight Aug. 15, 1947, the moment India claimed its independence, and switched at birth by a Bombay nurse.
The movie had its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival in September where programmers said: "Brimming with romance, spectacle and intrigue, sly social commentary and uplifting optimism, 'Midnight's Children' is as vast and beguiling as the great country to which it pays homage."
The rest of the titles along with other festival details are still to come.
Off to see the Wizard
Waterworks Cinemas will host an "Oz the Great and Powerful" release party from 1 to 5 p.m. Saturday.
Prizes will be awarded for "Oz"-themed costumes and patrons will have a chance to meet characters inspired by the 1939 movie and participate in games and other related events. Moviegoers also can have their photos taken in front of a miniature model of the Emerald City.
Waterworks is among the theaters showing the new James Franco movie in 2-D and 3-D.
Women in Film and Media of Pittsburgh will host a spring fling at 5:30 p.m. Monday at the Off the Wall Theater, 25 W. Main St. in Carnegie for members (admission free) and non-members ($5).
Actress and producer Adrienne Wehr will talk about the organization, dedicated to improving the status and portrayal of women in film, video and other screen-based media, and her career. Acoustic duo Rosanna & Jeff will perform, and members can take advantage of WIFM discounts for coffee and small plates.
Go to www.wifmpit.org to register.
Free 'Optimists' showing
The Bulgarian Macedonian National Educational and Cultural Center, in conjunction with the Embassy of the Republic of Bulgaria to the United States, will host a free March 14 screening of "The Optimists," a documentary on how Christians and Muslims in Bulgaria saved 50,000 Jews during the Holocaust.
Ambassador Elena Poptodorova and filmmaker Jacky Comforty will present his documentary, based on 200 hours of filmed and videotaped interviews and 5,000 photographs of Bulgarian Jewry from 1900 through World War II.
The center also will preview a new exhibit, "The Power of Civil Society: The Fate of Jews in Bulgaria."
The event will begin at 7:30 p.m. March 14 at the Bulgarian Center, 449 West Eighth Ave. in West Homestead. Those planning to attend can RSVP through 412-461-6188 or 412-831-5101, or email@example.com.