A Healthcare Documentary About People, Not Policy

“Instead of a film about policy, about which system is better, would cover more, or cost less, REMOTE AREA MEDICAL is a film about people, about a proud Appalachian community banding together to try and provide some relief for friends and neighbors who are simply out of options.”Good Pitch

A compelling new documentary called REMOTE AREA MEDICAL, takes a close look at the power of volunteer engagement in our own backyard. The film explores an organization and their team of passionate volunteers as they take a stand against health care disparity in America’s rural areas — through people, not policy.

The feature-length documentary follows nonprofit Remote Area Medical (RAM) for three days in August 2012 as their group of dedicated medical volunteers provides free healthcare for nearly 2000 patients on the infield of Tennessee’s NASCAR Speedway.

As seen in the documentary, RAM’s volunteer medical teams come together from all over the country to provide free medical, dental and eye care to people in rural areas of the United States. The organization is completely reliant on public support and volunteer commitment, and since 1985, has been engaging thousands of medical professionals to serve the greater good.

Instead of taking an explicit stand on ongoing medical debates, the film puts a human face on the lack of access to health care in America. The result is a dramatic and emotional story about underserved people with little to no means of accessible health care.

Inspired by Volunteers

Directors Jeff Reichert and Farihah Zaman first became fascinated with the organization and its cause while volunteering at a RAM clinic in Pikesville, KY in 2011. Reichert’s aunt, a retired nurse, introduced them to the organization and set them up at the registration table. The filmmakers were blown away by the number of people who came to the clinic, and the kindness of the volunteers brought them to tears.

The following year, the two returned to RAM — this time to document the amazing stories of both clinic volunteers and attendees. The REMOTE AREA MEDICAL documentary is the result of their own emotional experience at the clinics, and of countless hours piecing together the larger story of community, volunteerism and medical need.

The interactions between the volunteers and the people visiting the free clinic are mixed and emotionally charged. These are sometimes happy and sometimes sad encounters, but one thing is clear: They are life-changing experiences for everyone involved, including those watching on the big screen.

Changing Lives Through Volunteer Engagement

RAM “Pop-up” clinic in Briston, TN (Photo courtesy of Capital Film Fund)

This is a beautiful and inspirational film shows how motivated volunteers who are inspired by a nonprofit’s mission can touch thousands of lives in a meaningful way.

The documentary also demonstrates that organizations like yours and the volunteers you engage have the ability to address issues at the community level — not just in health care, but education, unemployment, welfare and other national topics. Take REMOTE AREA MEDICAL as inspiration to continue engaging your volunteers for a better future.

The REMOTE AREA MEDICAL documentary is currently touring at film festivals around the country. For more information about the film, and to see when it’s coming to your area, check out their Facebook page.

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