warning: mixed theatre/film and EMS content ahead

On Monday I went to the “[Level Zero][2]” premiere. From the trailer, it appears to be a fast paced, for-EMS-by-EMS documentary of work in Alameda County. That wasn’t quite the case.

The film is actually a 20 minute short only loosely associated with doc form. We loosely follow a couple EMTs and Medics through a fictitious busy day. The film consists of interviewing featured EMS providers about why they love EMS, how they got into it, etc., interspersed with some fictional depictions of real EMS work.

When thinking about a film, it’s important to consider the intent or the purpose. This film was made as a kick-off for EMS week. The premiere party (another subject of itself) was a party. This film is designed for EMS personnel, by EMS personnel to re-affirm their faith in the profession and why they do what they do. Unfortunately, I don’t think the film had a broad enough appeal to interest people outside the region. Half the thrill of the premiere was seeing people you know on a big screen. So was the film successful in achieving its objective? I think so. Is it what I wanted it to be? No. Can I fault it for that? No, because I had false expectations. What I want would be better achieved by TLC or the group that produced [Hopkins][3].

Now… the premiere party itself was more than I would have expected. Like I said about the film, this entire premiere event was a celebration of EMS providers about what we do. It was a fine night by all accounts – but methinks there was too much ETOH. Every ticket to the premiere included 4 drink tickets. The event opened doors at 1830, and the film didn’t screen until 2130. Some people were genuinely plastered by the time the film rolled. This was especially apparent in the Q&A after. To me, it was just a bit embarrassing. I know we’re all “among friends” and whatnot, but I still don’t think it was appropriate behaviour. When people know you’re an EMT/Paramedic/Firefighter, there is a certain image you need to uphold. If you’re in a bar off duty, out of uniform, and no one is the wiser, do what you like. However, if you’re in a large group of people that are all assumed to be First Responders, you have a responsibility to maintain that image of honour and pride.

All in all, now understanding the intent of the event and the film – that it was faith affirming for those in the profession – I can say it was a success. I am personally, though, disappointed.

Mat Goebel
Research Fellow

My research interests include EMS, EKG, STEMI, cybersecurity, data viz, ML, and NLP.