DISEASE OF THE WIND: Documentary Sponsored by Measles Initiative

Press Release: "Disease of the Wind" Documentary Premieres at the Motion Picture Association of America

News Story: 'Disease of the Wind' documentary debuts at the Dallas film festival and wins two awards

Press Release: "Disease Of The Wind" Documentary Debuts In Dallas At Deep Ellum Film Festival, Nov. 20-21

Read the poem 'The Thoughts of an African Youth' recited at the end of the film'...

Often I ask this question
I believe I have the right
Why does this world question
My own very desperate fight?

I fight for my youth
I fight for my identity
And by doing so I become uncouth

I try to establish my abilities
And attempt to do all I can
In the meantime I'll sit back and rest
And be pleased with all I’ve done

But some praise of my achievements
Would be in order if this world was aware
But how is that possible at all
If this world just does not care?

Often I ask this question:
Is life a loss or gain?
Is life your haven of happiness?
Or is it your source of pain?

Perhaps if we shed these worlds
Of age, color, tongue and creed
The pleas and the cries of the African child
The world shall consider and heed

THE MAKING OF "DISEASE OF THE WIND"

When the American Red Cross invited actress Jane Seymour to join the National Celebrity Cabinet in February 2001, she was asked if she would like to support the American Red Cross Measles Initiative because of her long history with, and appreciation for, health and child-related endeavors. She volunteered to go to Africa for the week-long mass measles vaccination campaign in Kenya, one of 11 campaigns this year, where she would help the Red Cross with its biggest challenge: educating and mobilizing mothers and parents to bring their children to be vaccinated against this completely preventable disease.

To help inform the people of the United States of this endeavor, filmmaker James Keach suggested making a documentary of the trip. To give the film more human interest, eight schoolchildren from Hawthorne, California were selected to accompany Jane and to experience first hand, the measles campaign in Kenya.

Shortly after arriving in Nairobi, Jane and the students make an unscheduled trip to a slum called Mathare. The unbearable stench rising from the refuse and sewage covered streets make it difficult to breathe. Still, hundreds of Kenyan children lined up to be vaccinated. It is on these streets that Jane and the schoolchildren met Jackson, a sweet young boy who loves school, but is unable to attend because his family can’t afford the fees. The Los Angeles students gave Jackson their spending money so that he would be able to go to school for one more year.

Music, banners and a great deal of excitement accompany Jane, the American students and the thousands of Kenyan Red Cross volunteers on the official launch of the Kenya measles vaccination campaign.

Overcrowded schools play a central role in the transmission of the measles virus. The disease moves easily from child to child, and many transmit the virus to younger siblings at home. With underdeveloped immune systems, children under the age of five are at particularly high risk of blindness, deafness, pneumonia and death from the virus. Volunteers from the Red Cross play a crucial role in educating the public about life saving vaccinations.

Kibera, the largest slum in Sub-Saharan Africa, is home to half a million people in Nairobi. Here the American students are visibly shaken as mothers cook dinner next to open, sewage-bearing trenches and raw meat, covered in flies, is put out to sell. For the Jane and the students, the most difficult thing to comprehend is how happy the people are, content with their lot in life. At a clinic in Kibera barely a cry escapes the mouth of a young child receiving a vaccination.

Finally, a respite: Jane and the American students head for Masailand. Two lionesses stalk a herd of zebra; an elephant nurses its young. Custodians of Kenyan wildlife, the Masai are pastoralists who maintain a traditional way of life. With few health care centers in a vast area, the Kenya Red Cross and its volunteers play a crucial role in getting young Masai children vaccinated at schools and in some of the most outlying villages.

By the end of the week, 13,302,991 or 97.9% of Kenyan children between the ages of nine months and 15 years had received measles vaccinations, a crucial step in combatting the spread of infectious disease in an increasingly small world. The Los Angeles students now have seen first hand the international work of the American Red Cross and its partners, and the importance of taking care of a global community.

A young Masai poet expresses her personal struggle near the film's end, "Perhap if we shed these words of age, color, tongue or creed - the pleas of the African child, the world will consider and heed."

Director: James Keach
Producer: Nicolas Hippisley-Coxe
Distributor: American Red Cross
Genre: Documental
Runtime: 60 minutes
Format: Beta SP
Sound: Dolby Digital (SRD)
Cast: Jane Seymour


DISEASE OF THE WIND: Documentary Sponsored by Measles Initiative

Press Release 1
Press Release 2
News Article

Press Release: "Disease of the Wind" Documentary Premieres at the Motion Picture Association of America

Tragedy of measles in Africa chronicled through the eyes of eight students and actress Jane Seymour
National Headquarters
2025 E Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20006
www.redcross.org

WASHINGTON, Wednesday, September 10, 2003 — Disease of the Wind takes viewers to the heart of Africa with Jane Seymour and eight Los Angeles-area middle school students to chronicle the tragedy of measles and the race to eliminate the disease. The documentary, directed by James Keach, premieres Wednesday, September 17, at the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), 1600 Eye St. NW. A 6:30 p.m. reception precedes the 8 p.m. screening and Q&A session moderated by Debbi Jarvis from WRC-TV NBC, which includes host Jack Valenti, president, MPAA; with Marsha J. Evans, president and CEO, American Red Cross; and Timothy E. Wirth, president, United Nations Foundation. James Keach, actress Jane Seymour and two of the students who are in the film will be in attendance.

During a seven-day humanitarian journey to Kenya with the American Red Cross, viewers get a glimpse of the crisis and the hope of a continent riddled with this deadly disease. Jane Seymour and the students learn first hand that measles kills one half million children each year in Africa, while affecting even more lives. In contrast, the optimism and hopefulness the Kenyans displayed throughout the visit touched and amazed Seymour and the students.

“Not only does this film follow an untold story of Africa’s leading vaccine-preventable killer of children, but does so through the eyes of youth who, for the most part, have never been on a plane, much less been to rural Africa. The impact of measles and Africa on these kids is the unique and astonishing part of the film. Their lives are visibly changed as the trip progresses,” said Gerry Jones, vice president, International Services, American Red Cross.

Actress Jane Seymour joined the American Red Cross National Celebrity Cabinet in February 2001 and spent her time supporting the Measles Initiative, the American Red Cross-led program which plans to eliminate measles from Africa through continued mass measles vaccination campaigns over five years. Seymour volunteered to travel to Kenya in June 2001 to take part in the Initiative’s largest vaccination campaign to date.

“In our travels we saw the Measles Initiative at work firsthand. We witnessed schoolchildren singing songs about measles and putting on community plays where a ‘devil’ character representing measles teaches mothers and fathers about the importance of vaccination. Most importantly, we talked to families about their daily lives and how measles affects them. I actually heard that some mothers won’t name their children until they have had measles because so many children die from it in early childhood,” Seymour said.

The film was written and directed by James Keach, who also suggested inviting the students to join Jane on the mission. The producer is Nicolas Hippisley-Coxe who used film crews from the United States, United Kingdom and Kenya to create the documentary. The film is a family affair as Jane is the host; James directed the film; brother, Stacy Keach, narrated; sons, Kalen Keach and Sean Flynn, assisted with photography; and brother-in-law, Donald, created the music.

By the end of the week, nearly 13 and a half million youth, or 97.9 percent of Kenya’s children received vaccinations, saving 18,000 lives and taking an important step in combating the spread of infectious disease in an increasingly small world. As the young Masai poet says at the film’s end, “Perhaps if we shed these words of age, color, tongue or creed; the pleas and the cries of the African child, the world will consider and heed.”

BACKGROUND:

The Measles Initiative

The Measles Initiative is focused initially in Africa, where there is the highest risk of death from the disease. The Measles Initiative is a long-term commitment to control measles deaths in Africa by vaccinating 200 million children and preventing 1.2 million deaths over five years. Leading this effort are the American Red Cross, United Nations Foundation, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, United Nations Children’s Fund, World Health Organization and Pan American Health Organization. Other key players in the fight against measles include the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and countries and governments affected by measles. For more information or to make a financial donation, visit www.measlesinitiative.org.

As of December 2002, more than 80 million children in 16 African nations have been vaccinated against measles through the Measles Initiative, saving 272,000 lives. For more information about the Measles Initiative, log on to www.measlesinitiative.org. To make a financial contribution, call 1-800 HELP NOW or to make a secure online donation, log on to www.measlesinitiative.org.

Disease of the Wind

Director: James Keach
Producer: Nicolas Hippisley-Coxe
Genre: Documental, Kenya 2002
Runtime: 58 minutes
Sound: Dolby Digital (SRD)
Cast: Jane Seymour, eight
Los Angeles-area middle school students

For more information visit http://www.measlesinitiative.org/wind.asp

NOTE TO EDITORS: If you wish to attend the event or would like to schedule a time to talk to Jane Seymour, James Keach, students in the film or other distinguished guests, please call as space is limited.

CONTACTS:

Amber Allman, National American Red Cross, office 202-303-4497
Carrie Martin, Red Cross, National Capital Area Chapter, 202-303-4459
Julie Irby, National American Red Cross, office 202-303-4264

Press Release: "Disease Of The Wind" Documentary Debuts Next Week In Dallas At Deep Ellum Film Festival, Nov. 20-21

National Headquarters
430 17th Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20006
www.redcross.org

For more information:
www.measlesinitiative.org
www.def2.org

DALLAS, November 13, 2002 — "Disease of the Wind" a documentary that takes viewers to the front lines of Africa with Jane Seymour and eight middle school students to chronicle the tragedy of measles and also the race to eliminate the disease, will debut at the Deep Ellum Film Festival next Wednesday and Thursday evenings, Nov. 20 and 21 at Magnolia Theater, 3699 McKinney Ave. Through a seven day humanitarian journey to Kenya with the American Red Cross, viewers get a glimpse of the tragedy, and also the hope, of a nation riddled with a deadly disease through the eyes of Jane Seymour and the students. Seymour and the students learn first-hand how measles kills a half million children each year in Africa but also learn that with enough hope, care and support, precious lives can and are being saved.

Actress Jane Seymour joined the American Red Cross National Celebrity Cabinet in February 2001 and was asked to support the Measles Initiative, the American Red Cross-led program to eliminate measles from Africa through five years of continued mass measles vaccination campaigns. Seymour volunteered to travel to Kenya last June to take part in the Initiative's largest vaccination campaign to date. To help inform the public about this life-saving endeavor, filmmaker James Keach (also Seymour's husband) suggested inviting eight Los Angeles area middle school students to join Jane in the humanitarian mission and make a documentary of their journey.

The film was written and directed by James Keach, produced by Nicolas Hippisley-Coxe and a film crew from the United States, United Kingdom and Kenya was used to create the documentary. The film is also a family affair as Jane is the presenter, James directed the film, brother Stacy Keach narrated, sons Kalen Keach and Sean Flynn assisted with photography, and brother-in-law Donald created the music.

Seymour said, "In our travels we saw the Measles Initiative at work firsthand. We witnessed schoolchildren singing songs about measles and putting on dramas with a 'devil' character that represented measles to teach mothers and fathers about the importance of vaccination - and most importantly, we talked to families about their daily lives and how measles affects them. I actually heard that some mothers won't name their children until they have had measles because so many children get it and die."

By the end of the week, 13, 302, 991, or 97.9% of Kenyan children received vaccinations, saving 18,000 lives and taking an important step in combating the spread of infectious disease in an increasingly small world. As the young Masai poet says at the film's end, "Perhaps if we shed these words of age, color, tongue or creed; the pleas and the cries of the African child, the world will consider and heed."

BACKGROUND:
The Measles Initiative is focused initially in Africa, where there is the highest risk of death from the disease. The Measles Initiative is a long-term commitment to control measles deaths in Africa by vaccinating 200 million children and preventing 1.2 million deaths over five years. Leading this effort are the American Red Cross, United Nations Foundation, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, United Nations Children's Fund, World Health Organization and Pan American Health Organization. Other key players in the fight against measles include the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and countries and governments affected by measles. For more information or to make a financial donation, visit www.measlesinitiative.org.

Deep Ellum Film, Music, Arts and Noise (DEFMAN) is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization working to promote the art of filmmaking and the entertainment industry while raising funds to help improve the quality of life by providing relief to individuals fighting cancer. Now in its fourth year, the Deep Ellum Film Festival is Texas' fastest growing film event and the premier independent film festival in Dallas. The 2002 festival is projected to have over 15,000 filmmakers, fans and supporters of the arts. DEFMAN strives to give back to filmmakers, musicians, and artists by providing them with exposure, funding and education. DE/F2 and SM/F2 each mark the first step of DEFMAN in assisting the artistic communities in both Dallas and Los Angeles.

Aside from advancing independent film and filmmakers, the mission of DEFMAN is to aid cancer victims in enduring the unrelenting and unfortunate hardships associated with cancer, by providing them with financial assistance. Monetary aid is generated through events such as DE/F2 and SM/F2 (Santa Monica Film Festival). The funds are then distributed through "Go Deep: The Cancer Relief Fund", which was established by the DEFMAN Board of Directors. Individual donors are also able to contribute to the fund through private donations. For more information visit www.def2.org.

For more information about the Measles Initiative, log on to www.measlesinitiative.org. To make a financial contribution, call 1-800 HELP NOW or to make a secure online donation, log on to www.measlesinitiative.org.

CONTACTS:
Lisa Lemons, Dallas Area Red Cross, office 214/678-4800
Julie Irby, National American Red Cross, office 202/639-3512

News Story: 'Disease of the Wind' documentary debuts at the Dallas film festival and wins two awards

November 27, 2002 — "Disease of the Wind", a documentary that takes viewers to the front lines of Africa with Jane Seymour and eight middle school students to chronicle the tragedy of measles and the race to eliminate the disease, debuted at the Deep Ellum Film Festival Nov. 20 and 21. The film won two awards including audience choice awards for Best Documentary as well as the Lionel Rogosin award for ‘excellence in execution and spirit for a film that serves to help impact the world in a positive way through its message.

During the first of three question and answer sessions, film director James Keach said “I was hoping this trip would change the lives of the American kids we took, but then I had my life changed. As far as the African kids go - they have a lot to offer us. We need to the mindset that we are a part of a global community.”

Through a seven day humanitarian journey to Kenya with the American Red Cross, viewers got a glimpse of the tragedy, and also the hope, of a nation riddled with a deadly disease through the eyes of Jane Seymour and the students. Seymour and the students learned first-hand how measles kills a half million children each year in Africa but also learn that with enough hope, care and support, precious lives can and are being saved.

"We were only able to go into some of these places because we were with the Red Cross and they were trusted. The people knew we were there to do something good," said Jane Seymour. "We didn’t consider the trip a hardship - we couldn’t - as our hardships didn’t even compare to what the kids living there face."

The film was written and directed by James Keach, produced by Nicolas Hippisley-Coxe and presented by Jane Seymour, a National Celebrity Cabinet member for the American Red Cross. Keach, Seymour, Hippisley-Coxe and other key members of the film crew attended the festival.

"This film was about these larger agencies work - and how you can not be apathetic. At first, it seemed so insurmountable. But then we saw how that one dollar made a difference. If people started by wiping out measles, that’s something you can do - the American kids we took will spread that word, that they deserve a life like we have," said Keach. "In the beginning, I could hear the kids speaking through society’s or their parents eyes - but at the end, they were speaking from their own hearts."

During a question and answer session following the film, an audience member stated "Most of us will never go to a third world country. To put this story in a film through the eyes of children allows us to have an emotional connection with something that is difficult to see. This is the closest most of us will get."

"It was such an unbelievable experience for me as a person," said Roland ‘Ozzie’ Smith, Director of Photography for the film. "Some of those kids touched me - I remember yelling at my son who was assisting me, saying ‘we’re out of focus!’ and then I realized the lens was blurry because I was crying. I hugged my son every night - this trip changed a lot of the ways I think, believe me."

Keach explained, "The only way you can vaccinate 14 million children in one week is through the Red Cross. The mobilization was amazing - the way they use volunteers to go house to house to talk with mothers. I was really affected - probably more than anyone. I was amazed to see how this could be done."

By the end of the week, 13, 302, 991, or 97.9% of Kenyan children received vaccinations, saving 18,000 lives and taking an important step in combating the spread of infectious disease in an increasingly small world. As the young Masai poet says at the film's end, "Perhaps if we shed these words of age, color, tongue or creed; the pleas and the cries of the African child, the world will consider and heed."

"We made a difference making this film - maybe it will help save a life," said Keach. "Before with other films, maybe I made someone laugh or I scared someone - but maybe this time I saved this little guy’s life." Keach ended the question and answer session on closing night with his overall mission in making this film, "The message is this - get involved and give to people who have less than you."

Film Reviews from audience members, others:

A mom: "I think every teenager should see this - we are so fortunate that we have all we do."

David Rudduck, Deep Ellum film festival volunteer and Red Cross volunteer: "This is the only documentary we had this year that really focused on a problem we can solve."

A teacher: "How do I show my students? I really want to show it at my school."

Audience member: "How can I help? Can we give a donation to the Red Cross?"

Hank Bashore, Dallas Area Red Cross board member: "People need to know about this program. It should be shared with kids, adults, all Red Cross board members should really see this."

Jim and Elaine Holloway, audience members:

"I didn’t expect to find the joy in the African kids. This film proves that economics don’t breed happiness. It was also wonderful to see how the American kids' lives changed."

"I remember having measles as a kid - that was the sickest I ever was. It was eye opening to see that it is a predominant disease in Africa and it’s so easy to stop."

"For the Red Cross to be doing this, and it costs less than a dollar to vaccinate a kid - that’s amazing."

For more information on the Measles Initiative, visit www.measlesinitiative.org.