SCREENING & DISCUSSION
Remote Area Medical
With directors Jeff Reichert and Farihah Zaman in person
Dirs. Jeff Reichert, Farihah Zaman. 2013, 79 mins. DCP courtesy of Cinedigm. During the U.S. debate about health care reform, the media failed to put a human face on what it means to not have access to health care. Remote Area Medical fills that gap—it is a film about people, not policy. Focusing on a three-day clinic held in the Bristol Motor Speedway in Tennessee, filmmakers Jeff Reichert (Gerrymandering) and Farihah Zaman give an insider’s perspective on the ebb and flow of the event—from the tense 3:30 a.m. ticket distribution that determines who gets seen and the routine check-ups that take dramatic turns for the worse to the risky means to which some patients resort for pain relief. The film features a doctor who drives an 18-wheeler, a denture maker who moonlights as a jeweler, and the organization’s founder, Stan Brock, who first imagined Remote Area Medical while living as a cowboy in the Amazon rainforest, hundreds of miles from the nearest doctor. But it is the extraordinary stories of the patients, desperate for medical attention, that create a lasting impression about the state of modern health care in America. Jeff Reichert’s first film, Gerrymandering, premiered at the 2010 Tribeca Film Festival.