The First Wave, A Conversation:  Lessons from the Pandemic for a Brighter Future

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Access the Film

The First Wave will challenge what you think you know about the early days of the pandemic. 

Colleges, Universities and K-12Watch The First Wave through your academic library with ProQuest’s Academic Video Online.

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A la carte streaming license to The First Wave available now on FILM PLATFORM.

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  • The First Wave cannot be accessed for streaming through public libraries. If you are interested in hosting a screening of the film contact events@rocofilms.com.
  • If you are not affiliated with a library, an academic or K-12 institution and want access to the film, contact events@rocofilms.com.

Our Panel

Here’s a look at our panel who tackled vital issues and how faculty, students and libraries can cultivate a hopeful future through all we’ve learned.

Panelists include:

Matthew Heineman, Academy® Award-nominated and Emmy® Award-winning filmmaker 

  • Director, producer, director of photography, editor of The First Wave

Dr. Nathalie Dougé, the frontline doctor in The First Wave

  • New York-based, board-certified physician in internal medicine
  • A first-generation Haitian American, she is the first in her family to become a physician, receiving her medical degree from the Penn State College of Medicine

Our Moderator

J. Corey Feist, JD, MBA, President & Co-Founder, Dr. Lorna Breen Heroes’ Foundation

  • Health care executive with over 20 years of experience
  • Recently served as the CEO of the University of Virginia Physicians Group
  • Adjunct faculty appointment at the UVA Darden School of Business where he recently taught a course entiled, "Managing in a Pandemic: The Challenge of COVID-19"
  • The Dr. Lorna Breen Heroes’ Foundation was instrumental in the passing of The Dr. Lorna Breen Health Care Provider Protection Act (2022)*

*The Dr. Lorna Breen Health Care Provider Protection Act, (HR 1667) aims to reduce and prevent suicide, burnout, and mental and behavioral health conditions among health care professionals.


About the Film

The First Wave

Watch the Trailer

With exclusive access inside one of New York’s hardest hit hospital systems during the terrifying first four months of the pandemic, Oscar®-nominated and Emmy® Award-winning director Matthew Heineman’s The First Wave spotlights the everyday heroes at the epicenter of COVID-19 as they come together to fight one of the greatest threats the world has ever encountered. Leaving a devastating trail of death and despair, this once-in-a-century pandemic changed the very fabric of our daily lives and exposed long-standing inequities in our society. Employing his signature approach of character-driven cinema vérité, Heineman embeds with a group of doctors, nurses and patients on the frontlines as they all desperately try to navigate the crisis. With each distinct storyline serving as a microcosm through which we can view the emotional and societal impacts of the pandemic, The First Wave is a testament to the strength of the human spirit. 

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