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Davis Journal

Documentary ‘Lift’ highlights goodness of humankind across the world

Mar 28, 2024 07:59AM ● By Becky Ginos
A little boy in Cambodia takes a bath in a pot surrounded by trash. A 1,000 children scavenge in the city’s landfill for whatever they can find and sell so they can eat. Photo by James Jordan

A little boy in Cambodia takes a bath in a pot surrounded by trash. A 1,000 children scavenge in the city’s landfill for whatever they can find and sell so they can eat. Photo by James Jordan

BOUNTIFUL—Although selfishness and angry voices seem to have taken over, there are still a lot of good people around the world doing good things. That’s what documentary filmmaker and Bountiful resident, Lee Groberg’s latest film “Lift – Connecting Humanity” is all about. Highlighting the goodness of humankind across the world.

“Filmed in many countries, we highlight inspiring stories from Malawi, Scotland, France, Cambodia, India, the Philippines, Ghana and the United States,” said Groberg. “From a ‘day of service’ for the entire community of Winchester, Tennessee to delivering supplies to members of the Hopi Indian Reservation of Polaca, Ariz., where many residents have neither running water nor electricity.”

Another story, “Mary’s Meals,” is providing a daily meal in over 20 countries and feeding more than 2 million children, he said. “These children must attend school to receive their meal. It is often the only meal they receive in a day.”

Groberg started his film career without ever taking a film class, he said. “I’ve been in the business for 35 years. I was invited to work on a film with T.C. Christensen (known for 17 Miracles, The Fighting Preacher and others). I did it and thought that was fun.”

Groberg said then he launched into a documentary film about the Yki Matsri or the Snow Festival in Japan. “I served as a missionary in Japan and saw the Yki twice.”

The equivalent of the Yki Matsri is the Winter Carnival in St. Paul, Minnesota, he said. I worked with two organizations that had been doing this for about 100 years each and so I named it Winter: St. Paul Sapporo Connection. We finished it in about 1987. That was my first foray into producing a TV show or a film for television.”

Two children in Ghana sit with each other in the village. Photos by James Jordan

After that, Groberg did a film on the life of John Browning called American Gunmaker – The John M. Browning Story. “It was very fascinating to see all of his inventions and factories where his guns were manufactured,” he said. “I went to Japan on that one as well to where guns were made there. It was a fun project.”

“Lift” started about five years ago, said Groberg. “It’s a labor of love. I had the idea about 12 years ago and I did three films in the interim.”

The film cost $1.4 million to make, he said. “I think there are 35 separate donors that support the film. But we got it. I’m just a stubborn guy. I just keep knocking on doors until I find the ones that will open.”

One of the stories in “Lift” is about Scott Neeson, (Children’s Cambodia Fund International) a man who had done very well at his job and he went on a sabbatical for five weeks, said Groberg. “He went to Phnom Penh, Cambodia and asked somebody where the worst poverty is there. They sent him to the city’s landfill where 1,000 children were scavenging for whatever they could find and sell so they could eat. They were the breadwinners for their families.”

Neeson was so moved by it that he said he couldn’t sleep for six months, Groberg said. “He sold everything he had and went back and started a school. It went from a school to housing to medical facilities. He just did it all. He raises about $7 million a year just to keep it going.”

Groberg said Neeson is the most Christlike person he’s ever met. “You know the parable of the rich man who asked what he could do to get salvation? He (Neeson) did sell all he had. That’s unbelievable. That was 20 years ago and he still lives in Phnom Penh.”

He’s got 1,800 children in school now, said Groberg. “They’ll all graduate. Many of them are headed to university with scholarships because they’ve focused on quality education. You know these kids will never know poverty again.”

“Lift – Connecting Humanity”  is available at and watch for its scheduled airing for the Utah market coming soon.