American Heart

American Heart [ usage: College & University ]

AMERICAN HEART (1 hour 36 min)

Seven years in the making, this award-winning documentary takes viewers on an intimate journey into the lives of three refugees who now call America home. At the center of it all is a remarkable health clinic tucked away in St. Paul, Minnesota, which serves as a crossroads for these embattled refugees and their devoted doctors.

We get a glimpse of the failing health and remarkable lives of Thor Lem, a former political prisoner from Cambodia; Patrick Junior, a member of an oppressed ethnic minority in Burma; and Alex Gliptis, an Ethiopian refugee suffering from PTSD, diabetes and HIV. The health care challenges they face are daunting, made more complicated by the trauma they carry from the past. Throughout the course of the film, they all face life-threatening health emergencies, and their trajectories prove surprising even to their doctors.

On the heels of a successful film festival run, where the film took home six documentary prizes in all, American Heart accepted invitations to screen at Global Health events around the country including a Washington DC symposium convened by the U.S. State Department. American Heart enjoyed a nationwide television broadcast on the PBS series America ReFramed in 2015, and the film received a regional EMMY® Award in the Topical Documentary category.

American Heart is directed by Minneapolis filmmaker Chris Newberry, edited by St. Paul’s Bill Kersey, and executive-produced by Melody Gilbert. The HealthPartners Center for International Health, in St. Paul, serves a diverse population of refugees and immigrants from around the world.

  • American Heart (plus bonus short film)

    This purchase includes the award-winning documentary "American Heart" plus the special edition short film "American Heart: June 2014" which gives us a glimpse of how some of the refugees in American Heart are doing two years later.

    PLEASE NOTE: This online streaming version of American Heart is intended for home video / personal use. If you plan to use American Heart for educational or institutional purposes, please visit our DVD Store to purchase the film at the appropriate usage price ( If you have questions or would like to purchase a digital download version of the film for educational or institutional uses, please contact us at