May 21, 2010
Los Angeles, CA
Director / Producer: Patrick Shen
- In search of wisdom found in unlikely places, The Philosopher Kings takes us on a journey through the halls of the most prestigious colleges and universities in America to learn from the staff members who see it all and have been through it all: the custodians. This thought-provoking, feature-length documentary interweaves the untold stories of triumph and tragedy from the members of society who are often disregarded and ignored, and seeks out the kind of wisdom that gets you through the day and the lessons one learns from surviving hard times, lost loves, and shattered dreams. From the producers of the multiple-award winning Flight from Death, The Philosopher Kings gives us the opportunity to learn from eight incredible individuals whom we would never have otherwise taken a moment out of our day to acknowledge.
Gary Napieracz, Luis Cardenas, Jim Evener
Luis Cardenas (California Institute of Technology)
"I have always said, that if you are afraid to die, you don't deserve to live."
Driving to work early one morning, Luis was violently struck by a drunk driver. The crash severed his right arm and left Luis in a coma for two weeks with severe brain trauma. After a slow and painful recovery Luis returned to work as a custodian at CalTech only ten months after his accident and began the difficult process of relearning the daily tasks that were once easy for him.
Jim Evener (Cornell University)
"If you're miserable everyday, you're doing something wrong."
Jim was only nineteen years old when he was sent to Vietnam. He was out with his squad when they came under sudden attack and Jim was shot in the back. The next day, he woke up to find himself alone in the middle of the jungle, unable to walk. Needing to get to safety, he dragged himself through the jungle for three days until finally passing out. He regained consciousness in a hospital in Japan where he was told he might never walk again.
Gary Napieracz (Cornell University)
"I have a family, I have a job, I have people that I work for that care about me. I don't think you need anything more."
Gary has been a part of the Cornell Veterinary School for over twenty years and is on a first name basis with everyone at the school. Like his friend Jim Evener, Gary was sent to Vietnam as a young man. This was an experience which taught him the importance of supporting those around you and allowing yourself to be supported by them.
Nathan Matthew David (Composer)