A medical drama served up non-scripted style – it’s called The Waiting Room, an ITVS-funded, character-driven, cinema verité doc that, thanks to unprecendented access, takes the viewer inside the doors of an ER at an American public hospital struggling to care for a community of largely uninsured patients – I’m sure many of you can relate.
Directed by Emmy-award winning documentarian Peter Nicks, the film made its debut in competition at the 55th annual San Francisco International Film Festival, in April, and secured a theatrical release, albeit limited, beginning in September.
Since then, the film has played to sell-out audiences in San Francisco, Washington, DC, Houston, Los Angeles and more than a dozen other cities. And it now returns to the IFC Center in New York City tomorrow, Friday, December 28 for at least a one week-run.
The raw, intimate, and uplifting film’s official synopsis reads:
The ER waiting room serves as the grounding point for the film, capturing in vivid detail what it means for millions of Americans to live without health insurance. Young victims of gun violence take their turn alongside artists and small business owners who lack insurance. Steel workers, taxi cab drivers and international asylum seekers crowd the halls. The film weaves the stories of several patients – as well as the hospital staff charged with caring for them – as they cope with the complexity of the nation’s public health care system, while weathering the storm of a national recession. The Waiting Room lays bare the struggle and determination of both a community and an institution coping with limited resources and no road map for navigating a health care landscape marked by historic economic and political dysfunction. It is a film about one hospital, its multifaceted community, and how our common vulnerability to illness binds us together as humans.
The film has a 100% fresh rating from film critics according to Rotten Tomatoes, which listed it as one of the top 5 films of 2012.
It’s been nominated for and won numerous awards season and festival awards.
See it if you’re in NYC. You’ve got at least a week!
Here’s director Peter Nicks talking about making the film at TEDx, which is followed by a trailer for the film at the end of the talk (you’ll find the full poster underneath):