NEW YORK–Thursday night was a bittersweet evening for the Ebersol clan, who gathered in Gotham with a raft of media players to toast “Ithuteng (never stop learning),” a docu directed by USC film student Willie Ebersol and co-produced by brother Charlie with family friend Kip Kroeger.
The docu about Mama Jackie, a woman who teaches the unteachable in a school she founded for orphans, rape victims and HIV-positive youth in Soweto, South Africa, recently took the humanitarian film prize at Telluride Mountain Film Festival.
Last winter, Telluride was the scene of a family tragedy, when a plane carrying Charlie Ebersol, father Dick and son Teddy crashed, killing Teddy and gravely injuring Dick, a longtime NBC exec.
Jeff Zucker, Bob Costas, former Gotham mayor David Dinkins, Richard Holbrooke and Mike Wallace turned out for the dinner at Hotel Plaza Athenee following the screening.
There, aud members asked the Ebersol brothers about the financial status of the school, wondering if it receives support from a government that has denied the connection between HIV and AIDS.
Indeed, the school was close to turning out the lights due to financial problems, until Oprah Winfrey saw the docu and wrote a $1 million check. Pal Gayle King was on hand for Thursday’s Gotham festivities.