Hearts Broken Open explores the miracle and mystery of resilience, our capacity not simply to recover from misfortune but to grow larger and deeper for having transformed it into an opportunity and a gift. Hearts explores resilience in three dimensions – our personal and emotional lives, community and society, and nature. We explore these dimensions through several lenses -- in true stories using varied combinations of audio, video, still photography, and written text that employ both cutting-edge media and traditional techniques. We conduct in-depth conversations with scientific researchers probing human brain chemistry and psychologists who’ve studied how we can learn to become and remain resilient in the face of adversity. We share our own insights into what makes for resilience and well-being regardless of one’s circumstances. And we invite your story leads (and in a later phase of this venture your stories) about the hidden gems you’ve found – individuals, groups or communities you’ve discovered who demonstrate a playful and passionate love of life in the midst of its inevitable heartbreaks. We’re looking for those who, when their hearts break, don’t break down but through, who learn to breathe into the cracks and open still wider.

     In an age of anger, cynicism and despair, reviving our capacity for resilience and honoring its spirit in those who demonstrate it even in the most challenging circumstances is essential to our survival and well-being. What the media tell us about ourselves is only half the story. Gazing in its brutally distorting mirror we cease believing in our more positive qualities. We stop noticing our everyday heroism, the not so random acts of kindness and generosity we demonstrate in both natural disasters and human tragedies. Hearts seeks to strike a better balance not by denying the injustices and iniquities of which some of us are capable but by affirming our capacity to live good lives, redeem ourselves, and treat one another well even in hard times. Hearts celebrates "the better angels of our nature."

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During the height of the Vietnam war in May 1968, filmmaker Mark Sommer, then a 22-year-old aspiring journalist, was invited to make a secret trip across enemy lines to Hanoi, capital of North Vietnam. There he and three fellow Americans witnessed  the war's destruction but also the remarkable resilience of the Vietnamese people and the surprising tranquility of Hanoi at a time when arguments over the war's morality were tearing his own country apart. In a conflict that would last another seven years, May 1968 was a brief hiatus, a Hanoi Spring. Half a century later in June 2015, Sommer returned to Vietnam to find out what has changed and what endures. Most Vietnamese, it seems, have largely let go of the past to embrace a more promising future. A war that killed three million of their countrymen only strengthened their will to live and finally to thrive. Refusing to define themselves as victims, Hanoi's younger generations are free at last to pursue their dreams wherever they may take them.