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With exclusive access to one of New York’s hardest hit hospital systems, Oscar-nominated and Emmy Award–winning director Matthew Heineman’s The First Wave spotlights the everyday heroes at the epicentre 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 daily life and exposed long-standing inequities in our society. The “first wave” of COVID-19 ravaged New York from March through June 2020. With Heineman’s signature approach of character-driven cinema vérité, The First Wave documents those harrowing first four months, embedding with a group of doctors, nurses, and patients on the frontlines as they all navigated the crisis. Their distinct storylines each serve as a microcosm through which we can view the emotional and societal impacts of the pandemic, and are a testament to the strength of the human spirit.

About the Director:

Matthew Heineman is an Academy Award-nominated and Emmy Award-winning filmmaker. The Sundance Film Festival called Heineman "one of the most talented and exciting documentary filmmakers working today." In 2019, he received a nomination for Outstanding Directorial Achievement of a First Time Feature Film Director from the Directors Guild of America for his narrative debut A Private War -- making Heineman and Martin Scorsese the only filmmakers ever nominated for both narrative and documentary DGA Awards. Heineman's 2015 film Cartel Land, which explores vigilantes taking on Mexican drug cartels, was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature and won three Primetime Emmy Awards, including Exceptional Merit in Documentary Filmmaking and Best Cinematography. His 2017 documentary, City of Ghosts, earned him his second DGA award. The First Wave is expected to be released in theaters this fall, and subsequently premiere on National Geographic in 172 countries and 43 languages. Heineman, a 2005 graduate of Dartmouth College, is based in New York City.

The First Wave is Sponsored by CORA

Regal Old Mill is Sponsored by The Starview Foundation

  • Runtime
    93 minutes
  • Language
  • Country
    United States
  • Premiere
    Central Oregon Premiere (South of Portland and east of the Cascades), Oregon Premiere, Northwest Premiere (Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana), West Coast Premiere
  • Director
    Matthew Heineman