25-year-old filmmaker Silas Hagerty spent this summer in Zambia documenting the rise of football (soccer) as a tool to fight HIV/AIDS in local African communities.

As Zambian Football announcer Denis Lewewe states in Hagerty’s new film, “Football is religion.” When a soccer ball hits the ground in Africa, people unite. Through this powerful platform, knowledge is spreading and stories are being told…


One of these stories involves the mission of Grassroot Soccer that utilizes the popularity and the power of soccer to help reduce the incidents of AIDS, providing African youth with the skills and support to live HIV free.

Hagerty’s film released yesterday in observance of World AIDS Day (Dec. 1) is called Lusaka Sunrise. Its use of upbeat music and joyous images of football fans makes this 7-minute film easy on the senses. Powerful testimonies by kids who have lost their whole families to AIDS brings home to Westerners the urgency of the problem. However, hope is what this New York filmmaker returned home with, and a moving montage at the film’s end leaves the viewer hopeful too… (Lusaka Sunrise Website)

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