Filmed in the war zones of Liberia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, with unprecedented access to the field operations of Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), LIVING IN EMERGENCY follows four volunteer doctors as they struggle to provide emergency medical care under extreme conditions.
Two of the volunteers are new recruits: A 26 year-old Australian doctor stranded in a remote bush clinic; and an American surgeon struggling to cope under the heavy load of emergency cases in a shattered capital city.
Two others are experienced field hands: A dynamic Head of Mission, valiantly trying to keep morale high and tensions under control; and an exhausted veteran, who has seen too much horror and now wants out.
Amidst the chaos, each doctor must confront the severe challenges of the work, the tough choices that must be made and the limits of their own idealism.
"A powerhouse of emotion and tension."
- The Wall Street Journal
"In this unforgettable chronicle . . . the characters are at least as watchable as tough-talking TV doctors, but without the prescribed dose of heartwarming reassurance."
- The Hollywood Reporter
"What distinguishes Hopkins' film is its immersion in the day-to-day pileup of impossible decisions that make any success fleeting and every mistake haunting."
"Expertly crafted, the documentary captures the rhythms and patterns of [the doctors'] daily demanding lives and reveals the characters of four intelligent, reflective and wholly engaging individuals."
- Los Angeles Times
"Four stars. A fascinating window into the seldom-portrayed and less-than-glamorous side of humanitarian aid work. It explores a world that is fraught with risk and dilemmas: the struggles, both internal and external, that aid workers face when working in war zones. It presents their lives with humor and empathy and doesn't sanctify the four doctors. They may be selfless people, but they're also very human."
- USA Today
"This astonishing documentary, whose world premiere at the Venice Film Festival resulted in a tearful, heartfelt standing ovation, will transfix you.”
”I was immensely impressed...a really great film.”
- Film Threat
“Gives a powerful sense of what life in the field is really like for MSF doctors.”
"A fascinating glimpse into the work of this Nobel Peace Prize-winning group."
- Chicago Tribune
"The true power of this film is in how it quietly lays out, through these stories, the magnitude of the tragedy that war, poverty, corruption, and our own negligence of fellow humankind have wrought."
- Fast Company
"Brilliant and subversive."
- The Telegraph
"View, urgently, ‘Living in Emergency’ . . . make it your business to see this movie in whatever venue or format you can find."
- Cine Synapse
"A riveting documentary."
- Limité Magazine
"ER at its most vibrant is like Mary Poppins compared to this stuff."
- Roger Friedman’s Showbiz411.com
“Haunting and graphic...One audience member said: "It felt like M*A*S*H*, only real.”
- HaikuGirl Movies
“I was a little apprehensive that this film would be nothing but a slick promo, [but] Mark Hopkins’ film is a many-shaded portrait of some of the bravest and most dedicated people in the world”
- Toronto Screen Shots
Shortlisted for the 2009 Best Documentary Oscar® as one of fifteen films.
Venice Film Festival
Cinequest Film Festival (Winner, Jury Prize)
Click Here to read a New York Times article on the making of the film: "Sainted Heroic Doctors, Minus the Halos"
Produced by Red Floor Pictures. 2009.