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Peter Nicks' Oscar-Shortlisted 'The Waiting Room' Returns to IFC Center

Thompson on Hollywood By Sophia Savage | Thompson on Hollywood December 27, 2012 at 4:25PM

"The Waiting Room," from first time director and veteran TV journalist Peter Nicks, is returning to New York's IFC Center on December 28. The documentary, nominated for Indie Spirit, Gotham, and Cinema Eye awards (among others), has received such stellar reviews that it is 100% Fresh on the Tomatometer.
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Nurse Johnson, 'The Waiting Room'
Nurse Johnson, 'The Waiting Room'

"The Waiting Room," from first time director and veteran TV journalist Peter Nicks, is returning to New York's IFC Center on December 28. The documentary, nominated for Indie Spirit, Gotham, and Cinema Eye awards (among others), has received such stellar reviews that it is 100% Fresh on the Tomatometer. The story behind the film, which tracks 24 hours in Oakland's Highland Hospital, is discussed in our interview with Nicks here; he was inspired by the stories his wife would bring home from the emergency room. "The Waiting Room" was also one of fifteen shortlisted titles for the Best Documentary Oscar.

Synopsis and trailer below:

THE WAITING ROOM is a character-driven documentary film that uses extraordinary access to go behind the doors of an American public hospital struggling to care for a community of largely uninsured patients. The film – using a blend of cinema verité and characters’ voiceover – offers a raw, intimate, and even uplifting look at how patients, staff and caregivers each cope with disease, bureaucracy and hard choices.

The ER waiting room serves as the grounding point for the film, capturing in vivid detail what it means for millions of Americans to live without health insurance. Young victims of gun violence take their turn alongside artists and small business owners who lack insurance. Steel workers, taxi cab drivers and international asylum seekers crowd the halls. The film weaves the stories of several patients – as well as the hospital staff charged with caring for them – as they cope with the complexity of the nation’s public health care system, while weathering the storm of a national recession.
 
THE WAITING ROOM lays bare the struggle and determination of both a community and an institution coping with limited resources and no road map for navigating a health care landscape marked by historic economic and political dysfunction. It is a film about one hospital, its multifaceted community, and how our common vulnerability to illness binds us together as humans.

This article is related to: The Waiting Room, Documentaries, Interviews


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.