2021 Sundance Docs in Focus: IN THE SAME BREATH

Courtesy of Sundance Institute


IN THE SAME BREATH
Nanfu Wang investigates the dual forces of propaganda and patriotism in the response to the coronavirus outbreaks in both China and the US.

Festival Section:
Premieres (Day One film)

Sundance Program Description:

Acclaimed filmmaker Nanfu Wang navigates the origin and spread of COVID-19 from Wuhan to the United States through a lens both personal and geopolitical in scale. The result is a wrenching, wide-reaching documentary that contextualizes the trauma experienced by health-care workers and the families of loved ones lost. At the same time, the documentary probes President Xi Jinping’s and President Donald Trump’s eerily similar responses to the pandemic: Both men spread disinformation and sowed mass confusion during the most critical moments of the pandemic.

By detailing scores of firsthand Chinese and American interviews, Wang methodically builds a devastating indictment of leadership’s response to the pandemic, pointing to an unprecedented level of deception and ineptitude from the highest levels of government. The result is a tragedy born out of a rapid domino effect of cover-ups, mismanagement, and lies. Despite the infuriating revelations this film lays bare, its lasting power rests in the stories of individuals who risked everything for others—and for the truth.

Some Background:

Director/Producer:
Nanfu Wang
Past Sundance docs:
ONE CHILD NATION (2019)
HOOLIGAN SPARROW (2016)

Both of Wang’s previous Sundance films have been Emmy nominated and Oscar shortlisted, with ONE CHILD NATION also winning the US Documentary Grand Jury Prize at the festival.

Producers:
Jialing Zhang
Past Sundance docs:
ONE CHILD NATION

Zhang was also Emmy nominated for ONE CHILD NATION. In addition to her own work as a documentary filmmaker, she freelances as a local producer in China for outlets including HBO, Fusion TV, and The New York Times.

Julie Goldman
Recent past Sundance docs:
A THOUSAND CUTS (2020)
THE MOLE AGENT (2020)
ONE CHILD NATION (2019)
INVENTING TOMORROW (2018)
THE CLEANERS (2018)
WEINER (2016)
LIFE, ANIMATED (2016)

Founder, Motto Pictures. Goldman is a two-time Oscar nominee and the winner of multiple Emmy Awards. She has served as a creative advisor to the Sundance Institute’s Creative Producing Documentary Lab and to the Catalyst Forum.

Christopher Clements
Recent past Sundance docs:
A THOUSAND CUTS
THE MOLE AGENT
ONE CHILD NATION
INVENTING TOMORROW
THE CLEANERS
WEINER
LIFE, ANIMATED

Partner, Motto Pictures. Clements is a News & Documentary Emmy- and Peabody Award-winning producer.

Carolyn Hepburn
Recent past Sundance docs:
A THOUSAND CUTS
THE MOLE AGENT
ONE CHILD NATION
INVENTING TOMORROW
THE CLEANERS
WEINER
LIFE, ANIMATED

Producer/head of productions, Motto Pictures. Hepburn is a News & Documentary Emmy-winning producer.

More Info:
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Filed under Documentary, Film, Film Festivals, Recommendations, Sundance

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