National Geographic Documentary Films, NEON and Participant have released the trailer and key art for The First Wave, the latest film from Oscar-nominated and multiple Emmy award-winning director Matthew Heineman.

What’s Happening:

  • Heineman produced the film under his Our Time Projects banner alongside producers Jenna Millman (The Boy From Medellín) and Leslie Norville (A Ballerina’s Tale).
  • The film opened the Hamptons International film festival to widespread critical acclaim before screening at the BFI London Film Festival. It has already won several awards on the festival circuit, most recently the David Carr Award at the Montclair Film Festival, which honors a film exemplifying a commitment to “truth-telling in reporting.” The First Wave will close DOC NYC with a gala screening at the Beacon Theater before opening in theaters on November 19.
  • A new trailer for the film has been released, which you can view below:

About The First Wave:

  • With exclusive access inside Long Island Jewish Medical Center, one of New York’s hardest-hit hospitals during the terrifying first four months of the pandemic, director Matthew Heineman’s The First Wave spotlights the everyday heroes at the epicenter of COVID-19 as they come together to fight one of the greatest threats the world has ever encountered. Leaving a devastating trail of death and despair, this once-in-a-century pandemic changed the very fabric of our daily lives and exposed long-standing inequities in our society.
  • Employing his signature approach of character-driven cinema vérité, Heineman follows a group of doctors, nurses and patients on the frontlines as they all desperately try to navigate the crisis, including Dr. Nathalie Dougé and ICU Nurse Kellie Wunsch, who put their own lives at risk to save the lives of others, and COVID-19 patients Ahmed Ellis and Brussels Jabon, who were simply fighting to survive. Each distinct storyline in The First Wave serves as a microcosm through which we can view the emotional and societal impacts of the pandemic.

What They’re Saying:

  • Director Matthew Heineman said: “I felt a deep responsibility to document this unprecedented moment in time, to put people in the shoes of those who lived it on the front lines. There are many things that I hope audiences take away from this film, but for me, it’s a story about how people come together in times of crisis, it’s about resilience, it’s about the power of hope and the strength of the human spirit.”
  • Carolyn Bernstein, executive vice president of Scripted Content and Documentary Films for National Geographic said: “Matthew has a unique talent for gripping and deeply intimate filmmaking that reveals the humanity at the heart of every story he tells. We couldn’t think of a more urgent time to share this compelling and inspiring work of art with the world.”

The First Wave hits theaters on Friday, November 19.