UPDATED with video: Politics and Covid-19 have been intertwined ever since the novel coronavirus emerged in Wuhan, China a year ago. But when director Hao Wu made 76 Days, his harrowing film documenting hospital workers and Covid patients in Wuhan as the city went through lockdown, he left political questions aside.
“I intentionally shied away from politics and focused on the human stories on the front line,” Wu says during Deadline’s Contenders Documentary award-season event. “I’m really happy that even some [viewers] who don’t fully understand what’s happening in China, they feel those stories spoke to them.”
Wu, who is based in New York, couldn’t get into sealed-off Wuhan himself, so making the film required him to find co-directors on the ground.
“I feel extremely fortunate that my two collaborators, their sensibilities are completely in sync with mine,” Wu says. “I picked them out after having talked to over a dozen filmmakers precisely because I saw in the footage their empathy and compassion for the subjects in front of the camera.”
As a result, 76 Days, from MTV Documentary Films, is intense but offers hope in humanity.
“[The movie] speaks to the reality of how people during times of catastrophe or deep, profound crisis, can rise up to the occasion,” Wu says. “If you look at the stories of medical workers taking deep personal risks to save the patient, that’s not just happening in China, that’s happening throughout the world.”
Check out the panel video above.
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