Former IRP Fellow’s Documentary Film Debuts in Nashville

By IRP Staff, April 22, 2008

More than 1,800 people attended the world premiere on March 27, 2008, of former IRP Fellow Barry Simmons' new film, “Sons of Lwala,” a project he began work on during his trip to Kenya as a spring 2006 IRP Fellow. Simmons, a Nashville-based TV reporter, was honored at the gala event at the Tennessee Performing Arts Center (TPAC) in Nashville, which was emceed by former Tennessee Senator Bill Frist and also featured performances by the musical group Jars of Clay.

IRP Director John Schidlovsky attended the world premiere as did two of Barry’s IRP colleagues from the spring 2006 group, Kelly McEvers and Anna Panoka, who traveled from New York and Denver, respectively.

The 71-minute documentary film tells the story of two Kenyan brothers, Fred and Milton Ochieng, medical students at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, who raised money to build the first medical clinic in Lwala, a village of about 1,500 people in western Kenya. The clinic is now open and treating patients from the village and surrounding region. The Ochieng brothers attended the Nashville premiere of Barry’s film.