2017 Sundance Docs in Focus: BENDING THE ARC

bending the arcBENDING THE ARC
Kief Davidson and Pedro Kos chronicle the paradigm-shifting healthcare efforts of a determined team of advocates.

Festival Section:
Documentary Premieres

Sundance Program Description:

As the poorest nations battled intractable diseases, a fledgling group of unstoppable health advocates took on a seemingly impossible mission: global health equity. In 1980s Haiti, in a remote region devastated first by tuberculosis and later by AIDS, Harvard medical student Paul Farmer, idealistic physician Jim Yong Kim, and activist Ophelia Dahl successfully raised funding and opened a clinic – but their patients weren’t surviving after returning home from treatment. The team eventually realized that clinical treatment wasn’t enough; they needed to radically change the way they interacted with the community. Through dramatically increased cultural sensitivity, pointed listening skills, local partnerships, and home visits, prognoses improved mightily, and the revolutionary Partners In Health was born.

Kief Davidson and Pedro Kos’s revelatory, vigorously researched documentary follows the dramatic success of a hands-on community health model that has, since its first project, rescued millions of lives. From a deadly multidrug-resistant TB epidemic in 1990s Peru to the first Ebola cases in Rwanda, this approach, and the intrepid team that envisioned it, transformed global health.

Some Background:
Director/Producer:

  • Kief Davidson
    This is Davidson’s first Sundance project, though he has participated in Sundance Institute programs and Skoll Stories of Change with his previous film, OPEN HEART, which was nominated for an Oscar, and for which this project is a companion piece. His most recent documentary, THE IVORY GAME, has been shortlisted for the Academy Awards.

Director/Editor:

  • Pedro Kos
    Past Sundance docs:

    WHEN TWO WORLDS COLLIDE (2016, consulting editor)
    THE LION’S MOUTH OPENS (short) (2014, consulting editor)
    THE SQUARE (2013, editor)
    THE TSUNAMI AND THE CHERRY BLOSSOM (short) (2012, additional editor)
    THE CRASH REEL (2013, editor)
    WASTE LAND (2010, editor)

    This marks the directorial debut for the Emmy Award-winning editor.

Producer:

  • Cori Shepherd Stern
    Stern previously produced Davidson’s Oscar-nominated OPEN HEART. She also executive produced the 2016 New Frontier VR experience COLLISIONS.

Executive Producers:

  • Impact Partners’ Dan Cogan and Geralyn White Dreyfous
    Combined past recent Sundance docs:

    AUDRIE & DAISY (2016)
    NOTES ON BLINDNESS (2016)
    NUTS! (2016)
    THE EAGLE HUNTRESS (2016)
    CENSORED VOICES (2015)
    THE HUNTING GROUND (2015)
    SEMBENE! (2015)
    DREAMCATCHER (2015)
    HOW TO CHANGE THE WORLD (2015)
    CHUCK NORRIS VS COMMUNISM (2015)
    HOT GIRLS WANTED (2015)
    IN FOOTBALL WE TRUST (2015)
    PROPHET’S PREY (2015)
    THE MASK YOU LIVE IN (2015)
    DREAMCATCHER (2015)

    Impact Films’ Co-Founder/Executive Director Cogan is also an executive producer of four US Documentary Competition titles this year – DINA, ICARUS, STEP, TROPHY, and UNREST. Dreyfous also executive produced STEP.

  • Ben Affleck
    Past Sundance docs:

    REPORTER (2009)

  • Matt Damon
    This marks the actor’s first Sundance doc credit.

  • Rick Rosenthal and Nancy Stephens
    Rosenthal and Stephens have executive produced previous Sundance narrative features, including MEAN CREEK (2004), AFTERNOON DELIGHT (2013), and FIRST GIRL I LOVED (2016), but this marks their first doc at the festival.

  • Nina Fialkow and David Fialkow
    David Fialkow is also a producer of 2017 Sundance title ICARUS, and serves as an executive producer of fellow US Documentary Competition film CITY OF GHOSTS.

  • Eric Dobkin and Barbara Dobkin
    Past Sundance docs:

    THE EAGLE HUNTRESS
    HOT GIRLS WANTED
    THE HUNTING GROUND

    The Dobkins are philanthropists with a focus on supporting projects that serve the advancement of women and girls’ equality and on documentary that ignites social change. Barbara is also an executive producer of this year’s STEP.

  • Jim Swartz and Susan Swartz
    Past Sundance docs:

    RACING EXTINCTION (2015)
    SEMBENE! (2015)
    E-TEAM (2014)
    PANDORA’S PROMISE (2013)
    CONNECTED (2011)
    SECRETS OF THE TRIBE (2010)
    TO CATCH A DOLLAR (2010)
    SERGIO (2009)
    SECRECY (2008)

    The technology venture capitalist and American landscape artist, respectively, are founding members of Impact Partners and longtime Park City residents. Jim Swartz is also a producer of ICARUS.

  • Patty Quillin
    Quillin has been a past Creative Advisor to Sundance’s Catalyst Forum. She is the wife of Netflix CEO Reed Hastings. This marks her first Sundance project.

  • Skoll Foundation’s Sally Osberg and Sandy Herz
    Osberg is the president and CEO of the Skoll Foundation, a longtime partner of the Sundance Institute, while Herz is its director of global partnerships.

  • Diana Barrett
    Past Sundance docs:

    ALIVE INSIDE (2014)
    HELL AND BACK AGAIN (2011)
    SECRETS OF THE TRIBE (2010)
    SERGIO (2009)
    THE RECRUITER (2008)
    GHOSTS OF ABU GHRAIB (2007)

    Barrett is president of The Fledgling Fund and a founding member of Impact Partners.

  • Emerson Collective
    The Emerson Collective, founded and run by Laurene Powell Jobs, supports social entrepreneurs who work toward increasing opportunities. This is their first supported film project at Sundance.

Editor:

  • Yuki Aizawa
    Past Sundance docs:

    THE CRASH REEL (assistant editor)

Why You Should Watch:
The men and women behind Partners In Health prove to be inspirational, forward-thinking figures in this hopeful profile.

More Info:
For Sundance screening dates and times, click the film title in the first paragraph.

To experience the festival through the eyes of this year’s filmmakers, follow my Sundance 2017 Twitter list.

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Filed under Documentary, Film, Film Festivals, Recommendations, Sundance

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