CNN Hero of the Year to be honored at Sedona Film Festival

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By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

PHOENIX -- One of the most meaningful documentaries at this year's Sedona Film Festival, award-winning "Waiting For Mamu," follows the story of 2012 CNN Hero of the Year Pushpa Basnet, the internationally-lauded social worker and founder of a development center for children who would otherwise grow up behind bars in her native Nepal. 

Director Thomas Morgan, co-director Francois Caillud, producer Angela Bernard Thomas and executive producers Morgan Spurlock and Susan Sarandon, long known for their commitment to addressing compelling human rights issues in not only their personal lives but, even more so in the work, found a unique way to visually tell a story others would be at a loss to convey.

It is Basnet, known as "Mamu," and her unyielding commitment, who, along with her organization, the Early Childhood Development Center (ECDC), coordinates the rescuing of children behind bars throughout urban and rural areas of Nepal that is helping to break the cycle of crime and poverty. She gives them a chance to be kids during the day and get an education. Those who wish return to the prison to be with their mothers at night. Many stay in her orphanage, the Butterfly Home

This film captures the hope of a child to be free from prison, to find a childhood and to discover their potential, even if just for the day. No child should grow up behind prison walls.

"Pushpa dares to forge a new path, against all odds, to give incarcerated children an education and a future," Sarandon said. "She gives them infinite attention and builds their self-esteem and does all this without any claim to their future. I believe she has taken the definition of unconditional love to the highest level."

Basnet and Thomas sat down with 3TV's Yetta Gibson Friday morning.

"Pushpa's story is actually told through the eyes of the children." Thomas explained. "It's a real story with a message of hope. … We hope that people walked away inspired to follow that impulse that they may have to reach out and do something good for others in the world."

"Waiting For Mamu" Sedona Screenings

  • Friday, Feb. 28, 5 p.m. at Sedona Performing Arts Center
  • Sunday, March 2, 9 a.m. at Harkins Sedona 6 - Theatre 1