Los Angeles Film Festivals Show They Have Heart in 2013


Sherman Oaks, CA -- (SBWIRE) -- 04/26/2013 -- “Life Changing Moments,” a moving documentary about the medical mission of American surgeon Dr. Sherry Thomas to help women in Uganda suffering from fistula has won two prizes at upcoming Southland film festivals: 1st place for Best Documentary Short at the Los Angeles Cinema Festival of Hollywood and 3rd place in the same category at the Sunset Film Festival of Los Angeles.

A public screening of the film will be held at the Sunset Festival on May 12, 6 PM at the White Fire Theater, 13500 Ventura Blvd. Sherman Oaks, CA 91423. For tickets go to:

Also, at the same location in Sherman Oaks, the film will be shown as part of the LA Cinema Festival on July 3. For details and tickets, go:

In 2012, Dr. Thomas, who is also a urogynecologist with a practice in the Los Angeles area, traveled to Uganda at the invitation of renowned African singer and women’s advocate Halima Namakula. Ms. Namakula asked Dr. Thomas for her assistance in treating impoverished women and their much needed surgeries for fistula repair.

“I knew what life was like in a third world country,” says Dr. Thomas, “but I wasn’t prepared for what medical care was like. When I realized how easy it was to fix these women’s problems, I had to help.”

Dr. Thomas invited filmmaker Sandra Mohr and Los Angeles Times journalist Wendy Thermos with her on the trip to produce the a film about the experience. The documentary follows Dr. Thomas’ efforts to give free medical care to Ugandan women suffering with fistula, a hole in the birth canal caused by prolonged labor that has devastating consequences, both medical and social.

The nightmare of living with fistulas is rare in the West because of our advanced medical care. But in Africa, at least 2 million women are living with this condition. Many times, the would-be mother becomes an outcast in her own community due to severe incontinence, and is rejected by her husband and left to languish alone without family or friends. Uganda has the 3rd highest rate of fistula in the world.

The film focuses on the medical and human journey of both an American and African woman through their experiences with fistula, showing how services in African countries compare with the West. The 18-minute film can be viewed at the non-profit organization’s website

In providing this life-changing surgery for the women of Uganda Dr. Thomas herself had a life-changing moment, and founded a non-profit organization, Life Changing Moments, to help more women in Africa.

“The cost for this type of surgery is only $50-$200 U.S. dollars per patient,” Dr. Thomas said. “And yet it is truly life-changing for women who can now be reunited with their families. Our online charity makes it easy to help and is a great way to support this work continuing.”  Donations to the non-profit can be made at

Shirley Louis, 818/991-0988
Life Changing Moments