By now, most of Oakdale that’s affiliated with the high school in some way has seen the famous “OKG” video – also known as Oakdale Kinda Guy. With hats and shirts being sold and more and more athletes identifying with the title, the documentary inarguably made a strong impact on the community.
Creators Soren and Eriksen Dickens – brothers who grew up in Oakdale and were heavily involved in athletics – made the OKG video back in 2016 and it served as a catapult for their careers. Four years later, they’ve continued interest in documentaries and recently created a new one that followed the trip of Rotarians as they went to India to vaccinate children against polio.
“Back in January, Soren went to India with my mom and the goal was, with Rotary, to provide polio vaccines to children under five years old, 100 million children in India in five days,” Eriksen summarized.
Rotary International is a “non-political and non-religious” nonprofit organization that aims to “provide humanitarian service and to advance goodwill and peace around the world,” according to their website.
The group that Soren and his mother went with were just one of the many that collectively strive towards that goal. Moreover, they hadn’t originally set out to make a documentary; Soren purposefully left his equipment at home.
“It was a fluke that I ran into one of the Rotarians who happened to have an extra camera,” he shared. “She convinced me to take her camera and film the whole thing. The goal after we put it together was to show the experience of the Rotarians who have worked year after year towards polio eradication in India.”
In partnership with WHO (World Health Organization), Soren’s Rotary team made their way into villages to help vaccinate kids. Though some families were open to the idea, others locked their gates and hid, wary of their motives. There’s belief that Westerners are trying to come in and sterilize their children; so, healthcare workers had to sit and negotiate for villagers to come out. However, they made sure to never overstep their bounds.
While there, along with vaccinating children to eradicate polio, they also visited a hospital where, using ingenuity, builders made prosthetic limbs out of PVC pipes for those who had never gotten the vaccine and had been mortally affected. Moreover, they also went to a school to provide funds for the education system there.
“The poverty was so extreme,” Soren added. “You have kids – babies – crawling on the street, sewage is inches away from where kids are playing and they’re just filthy and hungry.”
After spending that time in India, Soren came home with enough footage to make three full length films. Instead, he and Eriksen opted for a 14-minute documentary that was long enough to encapsulate the different missions and journeys the Rotarians had, but also bite-sized enough so it would be easy to watch for a regular viewer.
The documentary, titled “Two Magic Drops” after the method of giving the vaccine, was sent out to Rotarians and submitted to a few film festivals. Though they’ve submitted before, these were bigger organizations with bigger budgets than the past ones they’ve been affiliated with.
“It’s kind of a cool deal for us as filmmakers. We’ve been selected into six and so far at one of the festivals, we won best documentary,” Eriksen shared.
Though Soren did the filming in January, it took about six months to go through all the footage, edit, transition, work on audio, and more. They did this all while still working their regular jobs doing advertisements and promotional work.
“But this is where we want to go as filmmakers – documentaries and films,” Soren clarified.
Eriksen agreed and explained that they’d love to make more of these independent films. For him, it’s a dream to be able to get a film into the Sundance Film Festival eventually and possibly even turn a novel he wrote into a movie.
“As far as awards, I don’t care about that as much as enjoying what I’m doing,” Soren added. “I think it would be cool to bring some of what we’ve learned back to Oakdale someday.”
For now, they hope to release the documentary on Amazon for just a dollar or two and give proceeds back to Rotary to encourage more humanitarian efforts. While that’s launching, anyone curious about what the brothers are up to can visit their website at https://platinumpeek.com/