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55th San Francisco International Film Festival @ BAM/PFA

Saturday, April 21, 2012
3:50 p.m. The Waiting Room
Peter Nicks (U.S., 2011)

In Person/Peter Nicks and Highland Hospital staff from the film


In the shadow of the MacArthur Freeway, Oakland’s Highland Hospital is the community’s busiest and perhaps most critical source of emergency medical services for the uninsured and indigent. Over 73,000 patients of every ethnicity and creed pass through the ER annually, including more than two thousand trauma cases. Peter Nicks’s documentary is an intimate and intense day-in-the-life portrait of those seeking care, and the doctors, nurses, and social workers that serve them. Ranging from underemployed to chronically destitute, the patients present a grim portrait of the country’s dual economic and healthcare crises: a middle-aged man with agonizing spinal bone spurs who must continue to work to pay his mortgage; an addict with severe respiratory issues who has nowhere to go; and a fifteen-year-old gunshot victim whose body is temporarily held as crime scene evidence, among others. Their vulnerability is embraced by a compassionate staff that toils under a constant state of triage, a predicament that can leave people waiting for hours. In the midst of so much pain and suffering, Nicks shows us that life’s most dire situations are often illuminated by extraordinary acts of kindness and humanity’s innate ability to find a way to connect.

• Photographed by Peter Nicks. (79 mins)



Tickets on sale March 30. Online tickets are available through the SFFS ticketing system. Follow the link below and select "buy tickets." BAM/PFA members receive a discount online by using a special promo code. If you are a member and did not receive the code by email, please call (510) 642-1412.

Buy Tickets



Advance tickets March 27–30. BAM/PFA members may purchase advance tickets online between March 27 and 30 by clicking the link below and entering a special promo code. If you are a member and did not receive the code by email, please call (510) 642-1412.

Purchase Advance Member Tickets