I saw the short version of Remote Area Medical at last year’s film festival. This documentary by Jeff Reichert and Farihah Zaman focuses on the efforts of a volunteer organization to provide healthcare to the residents of a rural Tennessee community. The eponymous organization was originally conceived to bring healthcare to the remote regions of the Amazon but now focuses 60% of its efforts in the United States, a rather telling statistic about the current state of our healthcare system.
I recalled liking the short film and was looking forward to the longer version. Unfortunately, even at just 80 minutes, it feels like a padded version of the short film. There isn’t much new information just more examples of people who get care. These stories are still quite moving but the longer version is not substantially different than the shorter. That said, Remote Area Medical tells an important story and people who have not seen the short may not be as sensitive to the repetitive nature of the film.
One of the most striking elements of the film is how hundreds of people line up each day. Some families camp out days ahead of time to ensure they get in. The organization has limited resources and plenty of people get turned away.
You can find out more about the organization at their website.
Using the festival’s scoring system, I ranked this Good or 3 out of a possible 5.
Check out all my 2013 Philadelphia Film Festival posts!