The Fight To Rescue American Healthcare
Our healthcare system is badly broken. Economists say that the cost of American healthcare is rising so rapidly that it could reach $4.5 trillion annually, roughly 20% of our gross domestic product, within ten years. We spend $300 billion a year on pharmaceutical drugs thats as much as the rest of the world combined. About 65% of Americans are overweight. And that statistic ties into the big one: almost 75% of our healthcare costs are currently spent on preventable diseases that are the major causes of disability and death in our society.
So it is not surprising that healthcare is at the top of many Americans' concerns and at the center of an intense political firestorm in our nation's Capitol. But the current battle over cost and access does not ultimately address the root of the problem: we have a disease-care system, not a healthcare system.
ESCAPE FIRE examines the powerful forces trying to maintain the status quo, a medical industry designed for quick fixes rather than prevention, for profit-driven care rather than patient-driven care. After decades of resistance, a movement to bring high-touch, low-cost, preventive methods of healing into our high-tech, costly system is finally gaining ground. ESCAPE FIRE follows dramatic human stories as well as leaders fighting to transform healthcare at the highest levels of medicine, industry, government, and even the US military. The film is about a way out, about saving the health of a nation.
The film is directed and produced by Matthew Heineman and Susan Froemke. With a team at HBO, the filmmakers recently collaborated for two years on the groundbreaking, Emmy-nominated HBO series, THE ALZHEIMER'S PROJECT. For this series, they worked on MOMENTUM IN SCIENCE, which included two one-hour films and fifteen supplementary films that examined the causes and treatments for this devastating disease. As part of the HBO project, they went inside the labs and offices of 25 leading Alzheimers scientists and doctors, and filmed countless patients across the country to tell this critical story.
Froemke is a four-time Emmy Award winner with more than 29 documentary films to her credit, from the classic GREY GARDENS (1976) to LALEE'S KIN, an HBO film on poverty that earned her an Academy Award nomination. THE AUDITION, a film commissioned by the Metropolitan Opera, played in theaters nationwide in April 2009 and premiered on PBS in early 2010. Froemke was the principal filmmaker at the legendary Maysles Films in New York for over two decades. Well-known as a leader in documentary film, she has made seven films for HBO and thirteen films for PBS. Four films have been theatrically distributed and eleven have had worldwide TV distribution. Froemke is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, and a two-time judge at the Sundance Film Festival. Heineman recently completed OUR TIME a feature documentary about what its like to be young in todays America, which premiered on the Documentary Channel in July 2011 and on several digital platforms as well. He has also directed numerous short films and commercials.
The goal of ESCAPE FIRE is to help change the national conversation about 21st century healthcare by producing an entertaining feature-length documentary, website and outreach campaign. Stylistically, it is a hybrid film with leading expert voices carrying the narrative, punctuated by emotionally powerful human stories. These stories will be told through cinematic HD footage shot by award-winning DP Wolfgang Held, animation, archival footage, all set to the music of Moby and original score by Chad Kelly.
The filmmakers hope ESCAPE FIRE is just the beginning of a larger outreach effort - a conversation starter to stimulate discussion and debate in medical school classrooms, hospital cafeterias, doctors' offices, workplaces, boardrooms, government offices and, most importantly, in living rooms across America. It will be a vehicle to engage healthcare leaders and empower individual healthcare consumers in the national debate about the future of medicine. Health and healthcare are truly intertwined and represent one of the most precious and vital of human rights.
The filmmakers, Susan Froemke and Matthew Heineman,