(San Francisco)—Ed Artis, Jim Laws and Walt Ratterman are self-styled Knights of Malta, and in 1995, they formed Knightsbridge International, a unique humanitarian aid organization, whose motto is “High Adventure and Service to Humanity.” BEYOND THE CALL follows Artis, Laws and Ratterman as they take us on a journey into the heart of humanity and the soul of courage. A film by Adrian Belic, BEYOND THE CALL will have its television premiere on the Emmy Award-winning PBS series Independent Lens, hosted by Terrence Howard, on Tuesday, January 23, 2007 at 10 PM (check local listings.)
As Artis explains in his no-nonsense style, “We're not there to change anybody's politics, we're not in the God business, and we pay our own way.” These “knights” personal convictions and courage drive them to places such as Afghanistan, Albania, Chechnya, Cambodia, Burma, Thailand, Rwanda and the southern Philippines, often when few if any other humanitarian aid organizations are around. Their specialty is going where death from landmines, bullets, or bombs is as frequent as death from hunger, disease, or the elements. As Laws simply states, “We do what we can, when we can, because we can.”
The BEYOND THE CALL interactive companion website (pbs.org/beyondthecall) features detailed information on the film, including an interview with the filmmaker and links and resources pertaining to the film’s subject matter. The site also features a Talkback section for viewers to share their ideas and opinions, preview clips of the film and more.
About the Subjects
Sir Edward A. Artis was born on July 9, 1945 in Highland Park, Illinois. His family moved to Concord, California in the early 1950s and he has lived in the Los Angeles area for the past 20 plus years. Artis spent ten years in the army as an airborne medic, serving with various units of the 82nd Airborne Division. He saw combat in the Dominican Republic and Vietnam and was decorated for Valor and Wounds received in Action. After his military career, Artis worked in several fields, including real estate, mortgage banking and television and film production. Artis has received numerous citations, accolades and awards for his more than 35 years of humanitarian work, including an Honorary Ph.D. and Knighthoods in the following organizations: A self-styled non-Catholic Order of the Knights of Malta (Russia 1993), The OSMTH Templar Knights (US 1999), The Knights of Rizal (Philippines 2005), The Order of St. Mary of Zion (Ethiopia 2005) and The Order of Saint Gregory the Great (The Vatican 2005).
He continues to serve as chairman and CEO of Knightsbridge International on a full-time basis. He and Dr. Sir James Laws formed Knightsbridge International in 1995 after their first relief mission together to Rwanda.
Dr. James G. Laws is a doctor of osteopathic medicine in Dayton, Ohio, as well as the chief of the cardiology departments of Grandview and South Hospitals, and a founding member of Knightsbridge International. Dr. Laws has been involved in the Knightsbridge International work since inception. He has been involved in bringing medical aid and equipment directly to people in need in Russia, Rwanda, Zaire, Afghanistan, Kyrgyzstan, Cambodia, Albania, Nicaragua, Ecuador, Thai-Burma, the Philippines and Ski Lanka.
Knightsbridge has brought more than 74 extremely sick children to the United States for what is often life-saving (and free) medical care. Knightsbridge members are proud of the fact that they take the aid that they bring directly to the clinics, schools and hospitals that need it. They go at their own risk to health and life, and at their own cost. All monies from Knightsbridge International are donated and go directly for aid.
Walt Ratterman was a senior vice president for projects with Foley Electric, Inc. (one of America’s largest electrical contractors) for fifteen years. He subsequently founded TRC Electrical Construction Services, a commercial electrical contracting firm installing solar PV systems in Pennsylvania and Maryland. He earned a Master of Science degree in Renewable Energy from Murdoch University in Australia, and has extensive renewable energy design and installation experience internationally. He is currently chief project officer & director of Sun Energy Power Corporation. Walt’s hands-on PV experience includes residential and commercial PV installations in the eastern U.S., as well as rural solar PV installations in the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador, India, Nicaragua, Peru, Thailand and Burma with Knightsbridge International and Green Empowerment, where he was program director.
A commissioner of the Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation, Ratterman has participated in humanitarian relief efforts in such diverse nations including Afghanistan, Philippines and Cambodia.
About the Filmmaker
Adrian Belic (Producer/Director) was born in the United States to Czechoslovakian and Yugoslavian parents. He grew up in Chicago, but spent many summers behind the “Iron Curtain” in Eastern Europe with family and friends. He began making films in elementary school with his childhood friend Christopher Nolan (MEMENTO, INSOMNIA) and his brother, Roko Belic. Belic graduated from University of Southern California in 1993 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Political Science and a minor in International Relations.
While in college and after, Belic traveled around the world and across America. He worked with various producers in several capacities–co-producing, shooting video and film, recording sound and story development. He served as the director of an environmental information center in Los Angeles for a year before a childhood fascination with a little known country in Southern Siberia called Tuva resurrected itself.
Adrian and his brother, Roko, formed Wadi Rum Productions in 1995 and embarked on their first production, Genghis Blues, the story of a blind blues musician's triumphant journey to the lost land of Tuva. The film was the winner of the 1999 Sundance Audience Award, as well as many domestic and international film festival awards, and a 2000 Academy Award Nomination for Best Feature Documentary. When not making films, Belic continues to speak and write about filmmaking and following one’s passion, as well as teaching and serving on juries at film festivals.
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