Bending the Arc
directed by Kief Davidson & Pedro KosA friendship that changed the world
directed by Kief Davidson & Pedro Kos
Total Runtime: 102 Minutes
A powerful documentary about the extraordinary team of doctors and activists - including Paul Farmer, Jim Yong Kim, and Ophelia Dahl - whose work thirty years ago to save lives in a rural Haitian village grew into a global battle in the halls of power for the right to health for all. The community health model they developed to treat diseases like tuberculosis & HIV/AIDS has saved millions of lives in the developing world. Epic, yet intimate, the film is a compelling argument for the power of collective and personal vision and will to turn the tide of history.
In the early 2000's, on the lam from my Hollywood producing career, I was a medical logistics volunteer in Nigeria in the midst of the AIDS crisis. ("Logistics" involved collecting AIDS drugs from my friends in LA who had changed their drug regimens and ferrying them in my suitcase to heroic African doctors to use for their desperate patients.) Looking for solutions to the staggering lack of human resource to battle the epidemic, I read a Lancet article written by a doctor treating patients in Haiti using donated drugs - and community health workers. What he wrote made sense to me in the face of the emergency, when little else I read did. He was Dr. Paul Farmer.
In 2005, after Mountains Beyond Mountains (Tracy Kidder's legendary book about Paul) came out, I tried to get the rights to make a scripted film. Paul and Ophelia were reluctant to allow anyone to translate their lives into a film of any kind. I tried for three years - until they finally agreed to CONSIDER a film proposal for a documentary film. I took the project to Kief Davidson, whose exquisitely artistic directorial style I deeply admired. Kief was intrigued by the human story, the emotional drive of the characters. We teamed up to chase the rights for another two years before Ophelia, Paul, and the team at PIH agreed to grant us the rights in January 2010. - Cori Shepherd Stern, Producer/Writer