The Heart of Nuba
The Heart of Nuba

The Heart of Nuba

Director Kenneth A. Carlson

Production year 2016

Length 85min.

Country USA


Dr. Tom Catena’s patients come to him from hundreds of miles away on foot, in carts, or often cradled in their mother’s arms. Welcome to the Nuba Mountains of Sudan, an area of the world so void of humanitarian and media attention that years of war go ignored, and cries for help go largely unheard. Here, this lone American surgeon tends with equal compassion to patients ranging from malnutrition and leprosy, to grave wounds inflicted by the indiscriminate bombings ordered by their own president, Omar al-Bashir. When a government can attack defenseless men, women and children with supersonic bombers,and it doesn’t make anyone’s newswire, something is terribly awry. The only surgeon within 200 miles, ‘Dr. Tom’ does his best to save lives in the midst of carnage and terror, treating as many as 400 patients a day at Mother of Mercy Hospital, nestled in the heart of the Nuba Mountains. The region is the latest target of Omar al-Bashir, a man wanted by the International Criminal Court for committing crimes against humanity and war crimes in Darfur. Surrounded by a country at war, living under the constant shadow of aerial bombardment, Dr. Tom and his mostly local staff defy Bashir’s ban on humanitarian aid, and work tirelessly to serve the Nuba people. This population of one million Muslims, Christians, Animists and Africans of traditional belief have lived together harmoniously for centuries. Now, together with Dr. Tom Catena, they struggle to survive.


Kenneth A. Carlson
Kenneth A. Carlson



Kenneth A. Carlson, Jeff Werner

Director of Photography

Kenneth A. Carlson, Mike Chege, Mark Kihara

Music by

Randy Miller


Michael J. White


Sarah Brockhoff


Dr. Tom Catena, Sr. Angelina Nyakuru, Dr. Corry Chapman, H. E. Macram Max Gassis, Sr. Rocio Sanluz.

Production company(ies)

Carlson Films

Kenneth A. Carlson

Kenneth A. Carlson, a graduate of Brown University, specializes in writing, directing and producing theatrical fiction and non-fiction films. Carlson has recently directed a series of live action short films for Feeln/SpiritClips. His latest effort, Diner Formal, was their most watched short of 2015. On the non-fiction front, Carlson wrote, produced and directed, Gօ Tigers!, a feature length documentary, which premiered in the Documentary Competition at the Sundance FF. Carlson produced Amargosa, an Emmy Award winning and Academy Award Finalist documentary. The picture has garnered a multitude of awards at major film festivals. Carlson produced the critically acclaimed and award-winning documentary, Wild Bill: Hollywood Maveric, based on the life and times of legendary studio director William A. Wellman. This Academy Award Finalist and National Board of Review Best Documentary premiered at the Sundance FF. Carlson also directed, produced and wrote the feature film, Special Delivery, a romantic comedy. For more than six years, Carlson directed, produced and wrote over 275 feature segments for America’s Most Wanted, which aired on The Fox Network. His efforts have resulted in the capture and incarceration of more than sixty-five of the country’s most wanted criminals. Carlson has produced a plethora of commercials, music videos and short films. His love for photography has taken him to the far reaches of the globe and his images have been published in the New York Times, Washington Post, Lindblad/National Geographic Travel catalogs and numerous other travel and entertainment websites.


Special delivery (1999), Go Tigers! (2001, doc.), Big Gus (2013, short), Dating Avi (2014, short), Duner Formal (2015, short), The Heart of Nuba (2016, doc.).

FILMS 2017