One-Hour Film Reveals How Firefighters Have Become The Primary Source Of Healthcare For Millions of Americans
NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Talking Eyes Media, the award-winning film production company known for critically acclaimed films including “Aging in America” and “The Sandwich Generation”, has just wrapped production on the much anticipated “Firestorm”, a compelling, one-hour cinema verité style documentary that dissects a growing national crisis in emergency medical care through the lens of our nation’s firefighters.
Begging the question “Who will rescue the Rescuers?”, this documentary addresses the bigger issue in which a growing aging and uninsured population, doctor shortages, budget cuts and closing hospitals are forcing fire departments—much like the Los Angeles Fire Department depicted in this documentary—to become the de-facto health care system for the poor and underinsured nationwide.
Filmed in Los Angeles by the award-winning wife and husband team -- filmmaker Julie Winokur and world-renowned photojournalist Ed Kashi—“Firestorm” puts the spotlight on the Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD) as an example of how our nation’s next frontier in the battle for a sane healthcare system is the Emergency Room. Currently, 82% of the LAFD’s 9-1-1 calls are medical related and often non-urgent. Of the 120 million Americans who visit an ER every year, 16 million arrive by ambulance, and every minute in the U.S. an ambulance is turned away from an ER due to overcrowding.
“I think that most Americans don’t realize that the fire department has become a safety net for healthcare, or that there is a breaking point where emergency room doors are simply shut,” said Winokur, who spent many hours riding along with LAFD Station 65 to make the film. “My job as a filmmaker is to help viewers realize that this could be their story, that they could end up suffering the consequences of a dysfunctional healthcare system.”
Kashi adds, “Our next step is to share this documentary with Americans through various distribution outlets – television, DVD, digital media -- so that we may educate the many who are unaware of the how close this crisis hits home, and encourage them to share their voices with their local community leaders before this becomes completely beyond our control.”
“Firestorm” demonstrates just how deadly the consequences can be. The film shows LAFD paramedics standing in hospital hallways waiting for beds to free up, driving ever longer distances in search of hospitals that are still accepting patients, and running themselves ragged answering non-urgent calls that could be addressed by primary care doctors. This same phenomenon is being repeated in hospitals across the United States.
About Talking Eyes Media (TEM):
Talking Eyes Media is a multimedia production company that creates and distributes films, books, multi-media and exhibitions that stimulate dialogue and work toward positive social change. Founded by Julie Winokur and Ed Kashi, Talking Eyes was established in 2002 as a non-profit. Since then, the Company has produced works for MSNBC, Discovery, National Geographic, MediaStorm and the New York Times Magazine, among other outlets. Talking Eyes Media has received numerous awards from industry organizations including Pictures of the Year’s “Best Multi-Media Feature Award, 2007; Society of Professional Journalists’ Excellence in Journalism Award, 2004; Northern California Emmy Award Nomination for Best Documentary, 2004; National Press Photographers Association, Numerous Awards, 2002-2004; One of the Best Photography Books of 2003, Village Voice; National Press Club Online Journalism Award, 2002; and National Media Award, American Society on Aging, 2002, among many others. Critically acclaimed films include produced by TEM include Aging in America, The Sandwich Generation, Curse of the Black Gold, India's Fast Lane to the Future, Collateral Damage, Denied, and Firestorm. To learn more, visit: www.talkingeyesmedia.org
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