"Every Day After" Premieres in The Philippines
Smile Train-supported film aims to inspire meaningful conversations about clefts
31 JANUARY 2024, MANILA, PHILIPPINES -- Cleft lip and cleft palate are some of the most common congenital conditions in the world. One in 700 babies is born with a cleft globally. A cleft-affected child may experience difficulty eating, breathing, and speaking. They often face bullying, which can negatively impact learning at school and ultimately employment as an adult.
Through “Every Day After,” Emmy-award winning director Elisa Gambino tells the story of these challenges and the enduring love of a sister determined to do everything she can to provide her brother all the love and care he needs. The film was awarded Best Documentary in a number of international film festivals, including the Oscar-qualifying HollyShorts in Los Angeles, California, USA.
Growing up in Masbate Province in the Philippines, Jary was neglected and shunned since the moment of his birth because of his appearance. His older sister Jessa protects Jary through his early years, then takes him in as a young teen, to raise him alongside her own two children in a fragile house on a hill. Jessa seeks out the medical care Jary has been denied since birth and provides him the support to begin his physical and emotional recovery. Jessa’s love and care became the guiding light that allowed Jary to experience the joys and struggles of growing up.
Smile Train shared this inspiring film in its Philippine premiere at the Power Plant Mall Cinema. The world’s largest cleft-focused organization, Smile Train provides training, funding, and resources to empower local medical professionals in 75+ countries to provide 100 %-free cleft surgery and other forms of essential cleft care in their own communities. In the Philippines, Smile Train has supported more than 80,000 cleft surgeries, as well as the delivery of vital non-surgical cleft care, over the past 20+ years.
After the screening, Miss Universe 2018 and Smile Train Global Ambassador Catriona Gray moderated a panel discussion with Filipino producer Elaine Bobadilla and Smile Train’s Program Director for the Philippines, Jun Grimares. The film’s director, Elisa Gambino, and her husband, Neal Broffman — who also served as the film’s cinematographer and editor — also shared a special video message on their experience creating the film.
“Clefts are one of the most common birth conditions, but many parents do not realize that they are treatable — babies and children with clefts can lead healthy, fulfilling lives,” said Grimares during the panel discussion. “At Smile Train, we aim to make comprehensive cleft care treatment more accessible to patients, and this documentary helps create that awareness that help is available.”
Gambino shared how the film hopes to showcase the power of a sister’s love. “It was a profound honor to direct this film and share Jessa's masterclass in unconditional love,” said Gambino. “Through our film, we shed light on the daily challenges faced by a boy who is seen as imperfect and share the resilience, struggles, and triumphs of Jary and his caring sister, Jessa.”
“Every Day After” provides a more nuanced look at the complexities of the healing process we don’t often see. More than showing health inequity around the world, the filmmakers wanted to show the real stories of cleft lip and palate patients, their families, and communities. More importantly, this film educates and raises awareness about this condition, dispelling myths and stereotypes, and promoting understanding and empathy towards those who live with it.
“‘Every Day After’ is a testament to what can be achieved when we work together towards a common goal,” enthused Grimares. “We hope that this film not only inspires more meaningful conversations about clefts, but also drives more people to act and help patients in need of support and treatment.”
About Smile Train: Smile Train empowers local medical professionals with training, funding, and resources to provide free cleft surgery and comprehensive cleft care to children globally. We advance a sustainable solution and scalable global health model for cleft treatment, drastically improving children’s lives, including their ability to eat, breathe, speak, and ultimately thrive. To learn more about how Smile Train's sustainable approach means donations have both an immediate and long-term impact, please visit smiletrain.ph.