Available to stream: February 3, 2022 12:00 am - February 5, 2022 12:00 am ET

The First Wave

A film by Matthew Heineman
About the Film

About the Film

Filmed onsite at Long Island Jewish Medical Center from March to June of 2020, this powerful and important documentary chronicles Northwell’s response to the first wave of the pandemic and spotlights the heroic work of our frontline team members and the psychological toll of COVID-19. In addition, the film underscores the inequities of care illuminated by the pandemic.

Oscar nominated and Emmy® Award-winning director Matthew Heineman and his team were given unprecedented access that enabled them to document the truth behind the devastation of the pandemic during a time in our history marked by tremendous uncertainty, fear, and sacrifice. The film depicts COVID-19 experiences and images unseen up until now by members of the general public, including hospitalized COVID-19 positive patients receiving CPR, being intubated, and dying. It also vividly captures Northwell team members grappling with the psychological and emotional toll of the pandemic coupled with the killing of George Floyd. As a result, some of the footage may be difficult to watch.
THE FIRST WAVE is a testament to the strength of the human spirit.



“It’s both a vital piece of historical record that bravely captures the unseen horrors of the pandemic and a generous celebration of human dignity whose existence feels miraculous.” – Tomris Laffly, Variety

“The First Wave” understands the way that individuals frequently can only process events in personal terms and amplifies that understanding in order to create a broader portrait of loss, and to create and encourage empathy to persevere in spite of it.” -Todd Gilchrist, The Wrap

“It’s also a breathtaking testament to the fight to live, the calling to heal, and the power of human connection.”-Sheri Linden, The Hollywood Reporter