Aspiring filmmakers tackle healthcare woes

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It’s all politics all the time lately when it comes to talking about America’s healthcare system. But students from UCLA’s School of Theater, Film and Television had their own best picture competition today for best short film tackling very real issues of healthcare and financial insecurity.

And the winner is...

‘The Cure,’ written and directed by student Anthony Onah. It’s about a single mother whose young son is injured in an accident while she is at work. The family has no insurance, pulling them into an insurance nightmare almost as bad as the child’s physical nightmare.


The idea for the film began with a Dec. 7, 2007, New York Times article about a boy living in a FEMA trailer who was injured when he stumbled upon discarded methamphetamine debris. As he explored the milky substance, it exploded in his face.

‘They were a lower-income family without insurance,’ Onah says just after winning the award, which carried a $7,500 prize. ‘I was really struck by the story.’

The competition was a collaboration between the university and the AARP’s Divided We Fail initiative, a coalition of nonprofit organizations, businesses and political leaders looking for bipartisan solutions to healthcare and financial issues.

The point of the competition, says writer-producer Steven Bochco, is to get films that entertain -- not preach. ‘What film can do is to tell a story that causes you to ask very serious questions about a broken system,’ Bochco said. He was one of the judges of the competition.

All the films, exploring uninsurance, financial devastation because of medical care, depression and other medical topics, are available for viewing online.

Emilio Pardo, executive vice president of AARP, says the film will be shown as part of the group’s effort to communicate problems with the healthcare system. ‘This is a crisis that’s affecting everyone,’ he says. ‘It’s not a single generation crisis.’

--Susan Brink