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VIDEO: Watch the Trailer for National Geographic's NYC COVID Documentary


The documentary will be released in theaters on November 19.

National Geographic Documentary Films, NEON and Participant just released the trailer and key art for THE FIRST WAVE, the latest film from Oscar-nominated and multiple Emmy award-winning director Matthew Heineman. 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 Nov. 19.

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.

"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," said Heineman. "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."

"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," said Carolyn Bernstein, executive vice president of Scripted Content and Documentary Films for National Geographic.

Heineman is an Academy Award®-nominated and Emmy Award-winning filmmaker known for his sophisticated and immersive style. Heineman 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. He previously directed the documentary "Cartel Land," which was nominated for an Academy Award and won three Primetime Emmy Awards and a DGA Award; "City of Ghosts" for which he won a DGA Award; and the docuseries "The Trade," which just won two Emmys and was honored by the International Documentary Association as the Best Episodic Series of 2018. Heineman most recently directed and produced HBO's "Tiger," a two-part documentary on the legendary Tiger Woods, and "The Boy From Medellín," chronicling the life of global superstar J. Balvin over a pivotal week in his life. Up next, he is set to write and direct "Paradise," a narrative adaptation of the true events of the 2018 Paradise Fire.

National Geographic Documentary Films previously released the Academy Award-, BAFTA- and seven-time Emmy Award-winning film FREE SOLO and the Academy Award-nominated film THE CAVE. Other critically acclaimed films under the banner include Ron Howard's REBUILDING PARADISE; Sundance Audience Award winners SCIENCE FAIR and SEA OF SHADOWS; Emmy winners LA 92 and JANE, both of which were included in the top 15 documentaries considered for an Academy Award in 2017; and Dupont Award winner HELL ON EARTH: THE FALL OF SYRIA AND THE RISE OF ISIS.

Watch the new trailer here:

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From This Author Michael Major