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Arts & Culture

Seeds Of Resiliency

Aaron Fotheringham, a professional wheelchair motocross athlete living with spinal bifida, holds a Guinness World Record for performing double backflips in his wheelchair. "Seeds Of Resiliency" introduces diverse individuals who have survived tragedies and traumas, and overcome mental and physical challenges, and now use their experiences to affect change and help others. These compelling, uplifting and inspirational portraits attest to the strength of the human spirit and the power of positive thinking and action.
Courtesy of American Public Television
Aaron Fotheringham, a professional wheelchair motocross athlete living with spinal bifida, holds a Guinness World Record for performing double backflips in his wheelchair. "Seeds Of Resiliency" introduces diverse individuals who have survived tragedies and traumas, and overcome mental and physical challenges, and now use their experiences to affect change and help others. These compelling, uplifting and inspirational portraits attest to the strength of the human spirit and the power of positive thinking and action.

Airs Monday, March 30, 2015 at 11 p.m. on KPBS TV

Produced and directed by Susan Polis Schutz, "Seeds Of Resiliency" examines the strength of the human spirit in the face of seemingly insurmountable traumas and obstacles. "In the concentration camp, I slept on straw," said Holocaust survivor Fanny Lebovits. "I dreamed every night of sleeping on white sheets. I never lost hope."

A refugee from war-torn Uganda featured in "Seeds Of Resiliency."
Courtesy of American Public Television
A refugee from war-torn Uganda featured in "Seeds Of Resiliency."
Sang-Mook Lee, a Korean professor and scientist who considers himself lucky despite an accident that rendered him a quadriplegic. Today, he serves as a role model for other quadriplegics in South Korea.
Courtesy of American Public Television
Sang-Mook Lee, a Korean professor and scientist who considers himself lucky despite an accident that rendered him a quadriplegic. Today, he serves as a role model for other quadriplegics in South Korea.
The arm of Ernest Michel, a survivor of the Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland.
Courtesy of American Public Television
The arm of Ernest Michel, a survivor of the Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland.

Why are some men and women able to rise above the most difficult life-crushing challenges? How do they survive and, in many cases, turn their personal tragedies into effective ways to help others? Documentary filmmaker and best-selling author Susan Polis Schutz set out to answer those questions by interviewing twelve diverse people who have overcome the odds.

"In 'Seeds Of Resiliency,' I was on a quest to discover how people live through severe tragedies and challenges," said Polis Schutz. "I wanted to learn and show people what the characteristics are that these survivors share in common."

The result is a thoroughly engrossing, moving and uplifting series of twelve portraits of amazing individuals whose stories are hauntingly memorable. "Seeds Of Resiliency" introduces us to diverse people who refused to be conquered no matter how difficult their situation seemed at the time.

We meet a man who escaped the terrible slaughter in war-torn Uganda and now devotes himself to helping other refugees; a mother whose daughter was killed by a drunken driver and turned her tragic loss into a national program (MADD) that has saved over 600,000 lives; a young man who's confined to and performs flips in his wheelchair so skillfully that it has landed him in the Guinness Book of Records; a famous South Korean professor who became a quadriplegic, but amazingly does not consider himself unfortunate; and three Holocaust survivors one which exclaims her steadfast belief that "The worst can bring out the best in us."

By Ironzeal Films / distributed by American Public Television

Trailer: Seeds Of Resiliency