Every year, millions of young caregivers provide support to family members in need, balancing their lives with that of their loved ones, often with an emotional toll taken on both sides.
The stories behind these 24.5 million children and millennial caregivers, many of whom care for the nation’s disabled veterans and other adults, struck a chord with award-winning NBC and MSNBC anchor and director Richard Lui, who wanted to honor them. His film, Sky Blossom: Diaries of the Next Greatest Generation, highlights the struggles of five families — while also highlighting the selflessness of caregiving.
Lui is uniquely positioned to tell these stories. Several years ago, his father was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and Lui was faced with needing to navigate the complicated balance of his life with that of his father’s and both of their needs.
“I wasn’t sure whether I’d be able to keep my job or not,” he told AARP in November. Fortunately, his boss was also a long-distance caregiver, and Lui was able to continue working as a national news anchor on weekends and take care of his father during the week. The experience drew their family closer and led to Lui conceptualizing the film.
A “sky blossom” is a wartime nickname for a paratrooper who rushes to the aid of wounded troops on the ground — and an apt title for such a moving documentary. For three years, Lui and his production team followed five families, covering their daily struggles, revelations and roles.
“It was time well invested to share a major slice of American life, the millions of us caring for a loved one, and to make it more understandable,” Lui says.
AARP was one of the sponsors of the documentary, and its message on caregiving aligns with the organization’s social mission in providing support for caregivers.
So what’s next for Sky Blossom? “The film is heading to broadcast on a major cable channel, theaters in 50 states, DVD in Walmart and streaming on a major platform, starting at the end of May,” Lui says. And already the film has netted a 2020 Movies for Grownups nomination for best documentary. He adds that the film has “garnered early attention” from multiple international film festivals, as well as picked up other nominations.