Bending the Arc

Guests Expected

Dr. Jim Kim, President of the World Bank and subject of the film, expected to attend.


Now, more than ever, a film that shows how big problems can acutally be solved by exceptional people committed to social justice, is a welcome thing, indeed. In the early 1980s, a young pre-med student journeyed deep into Haiti’s devastatingly poor countryside, astonished to find so many people living without any hope of medical care. After a season of contributing anything he could to their seemingly hopeless cause, Paul Farmer reluctantly followed the sage advice of a local priest and returned to Boston to attend Harvard Medical School. There he found kindred intellectual spirits in fellow students Ophelia Dahl and Jim Yong Kim (now the president of the World Bank), and an extraordinarily inspirational quest for social justice and universal health care began. Directors Kief Davidson and Pedro Kos chronicle the trio's remarkable journey in Bending the Arc, combining stills, archival footage, and some very emotional interviews to capture the heartbreaking setbacks and tear-inducing victories of the struggle. Along the way, the doctors encounter a drug resistant strain of TB in Peru, battle the World Health Organization on the issue of healthcare costs, form a critical alliance with gay activists to raise funds to fight HIV/AIDS, rebuild the entire healthcare system of Rwanda, and face down the terrifying threat of Ebola. As the film asserts, underneath the politics, power struggles, and logistics is the fundamental ethical question—should the extremely poor be allowed to die because their medical care is too expensive? Bending the Arc is a stirring, emphatic, and profoundly moving answer to that question. —Gustavus Kundahl

Filmmaker Bio(s)

Brooklyn born director and producer Kief Davidson is best known for the documentaries Kassim the Dream (2008), the story of World Champion Boxer Kassim Ouma; the Oscar-nominated documentary short Open Heart (2013); and The Ivory Game (2016), the winner of an International Green Film Award. 

Los Angeles director and editor Pedro Kos made the documentary short Solea (2014), which featured Flamenco guitarist Juan Ramirez. Among his projects as an editor are The Crash Reel (Lucy Walker, 2013), The Square (Jehane Noujaim, 2013), and The Island President (Jon Shenk, 2011).

Film Details
  • Country(ies): USA
  • Language(s): English, Haitian Creole, Spanish, Kinyarwanda
  • Year: 2017
  • Running time: 102
  • Director(s): Kief Davidson, Pedro Kos
  • Producer(s): Kief Davidson, Cori Shepherd Stern
  • Cinematographer(s): David Murdock, Guy Mossman, Joshua Dreyfus
  • Editor(s): Pedro Kos, Yuki Aizawa
  • Music: H. Scott Salinas, Matthew Atticus Berger

Print Source:
Cori Shepherd Stern