Smile Train, the world’s leading cleft organization, kicks-off their 20th anniversary by announcing their short film, Aldrian, winning Best Documentary at the recently concluded LA Under the Stars Film Festival 2019 last February 23.
The film is about Aldrian, a six-year-old boy living with an untreated cleft lip and palate in Metro Manila, Philippines and his journey to his forever smile. Aldrian’s greatest wish was simply to eat with ease. Lola Theresa is Aldrian’s grandmother. She is raising Aldrian and works as a street vendor to support her family of five. Lola Theresa was barely making enough money to feed her family, let alone enough to pay for Aldrian’s cleft surgery. However, this soon changed when a local Smile Train social worker heard about his story and reached out to help. With love and support from his family and a helping hand from Smile Train, Aldrian proves dreams can come true.
The story of Aldrian is only one of many. Globally, more than 200,000 babies are born with clefts every year. Children with clefts don’t only have difficulty eating, breathing, hearing, and speaking but may also lack the confidence needed to go to school every day and eventually look for a job. Smile Train believes that a smile is just the beginning of the transformation. They are instrumental in being a part of a child’s journey to a full, healthy and productive life.
The LA Under the Stars Film Festival is an international film festival held at the historic El Cid Theatre, Los Angeles, California and is considered the best showcase for independent films. The festival has acknowledged the short film, Aldrian, as it focuses on real life situations that underserved Filipino families face when members are born with birth differences. Representing the 50,000th surgery supported by Smile Train in the Philippines, Aldrian showcases the opportunities that can be provided such as free cleft surgeries and comprehensive cleft care.
Aldrian was also awarded the Best Production/Producer for the CKF International Film Festival (CKIFF) last August The CKIFF is a monthly film festival designed for independent filmmakers. The short film was premiered at the festival last November in Swindon, England.
“Smile Train saw the LA Under the Stars Film Festival as a great opportunity to share our Aldrian film to help raise awareness for children with birth differences, including those with clefts, as we continue to advocate spreading love and kindness through unconditional acceptance for others,” said Kimmy Coseteng-Flaviano, Smile Train’s Area Director for South East Asia. “This win encourages us to uphold Smile Train’s commitment to ensure every child born with a cleft can lead a full and productive life.”
To watch the film, please visit: smiletrain.org/lp/aldrian
For more information about Smile Train’s global efforts and to make a donation, please visit smiletrain.org. To learn more about Smile Train’s local programs in the Philippines, please follow Smile Train Philippines on Twitter and Instagram @SmileTrainPh, and like us on Facebook at @SmileTrainPhilippines.
About Smile Train
Smile Train empowers local medical professionals with training, funding, and resources to provide free cleft surgery and comprehensive cleft care to children globally. We advance a sustainable solution and scalable global health model for cleft treatment, drastically improving children’s lives, including their ability to eat, breathe, speak, and ultimately thrive. To learn more about how Smile Train’s sustainable approach means donations have both an immediate and long-term impact, please visit smiletrain.org.