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The First Wave

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With exclusive access inside one of New York’s hardest hit hospital systems during the terrifying first four months of the pandemic, Oscar®-nominated and Emmy® Award-winning director Matthew Heineman’s THE FIRST WAVE spotlights the everyday heroes at the epicenter of COVID-19 as they come together to fight one of the greatest threats the world has ever encountered. Leaving a devastating trail of death and despair, this once-in-a-century pandemic changed the very fabric of our daily lives and exposed long-standing inequities in our society.
Employing his signature approach of character-driven cinema vérité, Heineman embeds with a group of doctors, nurses and patients on the frontlines as they all desperately try to navigate the crisis. With each distinct storyline serving as a microcosm

Running Time: 93 min.
Subject(s): Current Affairs, Ethnography, Health, Science, Society
Language(s): English
Director(s):
Producer(s): Matthew Heineman, Jenna Millman, Leslie Norville
Cinematographer: Ross McDonnell, Thorsten Thielow, Brian Dawson, Matthew Heineman, Alex Pritz
Editor(s): Francisco Bello, Matthew Heineman, Gabriel Rhodes, David Zieff
Production Company: Our Time Projects

Press

  • Variety
    "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
  • The Wrap
    "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 Hollywood Reporter
    "It’s also a breathtaking testament to the fight to live, the calling to heal, and the power of human connection."
    Sheri Linden

Festival Participation

  • DOC NYC - 2021
  • Cinema Eye Honors Awards - 2022
    Award Nominee
  • Critics' Choice Documentary Awards - 2021
    Award Nominee
  • Hollywood Music In Media Awards - 2021
    HMMA Award Nominee
  • International Documentary Association - 2022
    IDA Award Nominee
  • International Documentary Association - 2021
    Pare Lorentz Award Winner
  • International Documentary Association - 2021
    Outstanding Documentary Cinematography Nominee
  • Montclair Film Festival - 2021
    David Carr Award for Truth in Non-Fiction Filmmaking Winner
  • Montclair Film Festival - 2021
    Bruce Sinofsky Prize for Documentary Feature Nominee
  • Philadelphia Film Festival - 2021
    Feature Competiton Award Winner
  • Philadelphia Film Festival - 2021
    Jury Award Winner

Distribution Company

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