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'The Waiting Room' Director Peter Nicks Talks Immersive Verite ER Documentary--On Oscar Shortlist

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood December 3, 2012 at 4:56PM

Most documentaries emerge through various known gatekeepers at major festivals. More and more these days, such a plethora of strong docs are being made by talent able to deploy inexpensive digital cameras that it's easy for new faces to get lost. "The Waiting Room" is a first feature from veteran television journalist Peter Nicks...
Nurse Johnson, 'The Waiting Room'
Nurse Johnson, 'The Waiting Room'

Nicks eventually made a self service distribution deal with the International Film Circuit with $80,000 raised from Kickstarter. His plan: roll out the film theatrically, followed by a robust international semi-theatrical and non-theatrical run at schools, libraries, universities, community events. They will then air on television in the spring on PBS Independent Lens and hope to launch their interactive project as they expand to other hospitals around the country.

Nicks is taking this material online with "an interactive storytelling project akin to Story Corps that is meant to capture the experiences of people - both patients and caregivers - on the front line of the health care system," he says. "We're building interactive technology that will be placed and tested in the waiting room at Highland Hospital. It will mainly take the form of an interactive screen that will allow people to view and record video, text and photographs. On a basic level we believe the project will improve patient satisfaction. Since patients are already stuck for hours waiting, we are turning an isolating, frustrating and often depressing experience on its head by providing patients with an active experience. This will undoubtedly improve patient satisfaction - something hospitals are very focused on. And if we can move the needle on the patient satisfaction metric we see the potential for the system to be leased or purchased by hospitals and clinics around the country."


This article is related to: Documentary, Documentaries, Full Frame Documentary Film Festival, Interviews, 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.