While many of us feel as though COVID-19's grip on the world has loosened since last year, it is obvious that despite our best efforts at prompt vaccine rollouts, globally, we are rather far from the finish line. With this in mind, Oscar-nominated director Matthew Heineman appears to have decided to create a documentary titled The First Wave that focuses on the COVID-19 pandemic, and how it consumed New York City, one of the world most energetic and lively cities last year to the point of almost complete shutdown.
The film, which has been acquired by National Geographic Documentary Films, is set to see a theatrical release later this year. The teaser, which has been released ahead of a full trailer, depicts the very raw reality of the way the virus affected so many during its first wave and continues to do so today. The documentary aims to reveal an up-close insight into how frontline healthcare workers had to manage an almost unbearably high volume of cases for the first four months of the outbreak, filmed at Long Island Jewish Medical Center in Queens.
The First Wave also aims to highlight the “unequal toll of COVID-19, which disproportionately impacted people of colour and the economically disadvantaged from the very beginning,” according to Variety.
“I feel deeply honoured that I had the opportunity to document — through our subjects over four terrifying months — the impact of this pandemic. It has forced us to question everything, the fragility of our lives, and the way we live,” Heineman said in a statement. “The film explores every aspect of the human condition — fear and courage, death and birth, and the inescapable weight of trauma, both the kind that is deeply held and also newly experienced.”
Participant and Heineman’s Our Time Projects will lead on production. Watch the teaser trailer for The First Wavebelow and stay tuned for the official release date to be announced.