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POV: Wuhan Wuhan

Lailai running at temporary hospital.
Stars Collective Films Entertainment Group, Inc.
Lailai running at temporary hospital.

Premieres Monday, July 11, 2022 at 10:30 p.m. on KPBS TV / On demand with PBS Video App

The 35th anniversary season of POV opens with the heart rendering observational film "Wuhan Wuhan", about the first wave of COVID-19, in the city where the mysterious virus was first discovered.

Directed by Yung Chang ("Up the Yangtze," "This is Not a Movie"), and produced by Diane Quon ("Minding the Gap"), Donna Gigliotti ("Hidden Figures," "Shakespeare in Love"), and Peter Luo ("Crazy Rich Asians," "Marshall"), the documentary goes beyond the statistics and salacious headlines to provide a human experience to the early months of the pandemic through the stories of frontline medical workers, patients, and ordinary citizens.

POV Trailer | Wuhan Wuhan

During February and March 2020, two months into the city’s lockdown, hospital medical staff in Wuhan are scrambling for PPE, some using their own money to buy the necessary protective gear. Doctors and nurses write their names and pin pictures of themselves to their chests so their patients can recognize them.

Driver with new baby.
Stars Collective Films Entertainment Group, Inc.
Driver with new baby.

As the deadly coronavirus evolves, city residents and volunteers from other provinces provide necessary resources as Wuhan grapples with an invisible, deadly killer. Amidst the height of the pandemic, Chang and his crew have unprecedented access into firsthand accounts of local medical personnel and selfless volunteers — each with a unique perspective, to the crisis at hand.

Old man on deserted street.
Stars Collective Films Entertainment Group, Inc.
Old man on deserted street.

"Wuhan Wuhan" focuses on five compelling stories:

  • Dr. Xiannian Zheng, 35, a soft-hearted ER doctor
  • Susu, 34, an unflappable ICU nurse from the COVID-19 hospital
  • Dr. Guiqing Zhang, 55, a compassionate volunteer psychologist at a temporary hospital
  • Xiuli Liu, 41, a tenacious mother and her son Lai Lai, 9, who are COVID-19 patients navigating the PRC healthcare system
  • Yin, 30, a volunteer driver for medical workers and his 9 month pregnant wife Xu, 23, whose heartfelt story forms the backbone of this film
Driver and wife hug.
Stars Collective Films Entertainment Group, Inc.
Driver and wife hug.

Filmmaker Quote:

Director Yung Chang remarked: “It’s a great honor to have 'Wuhan Wuhan' open the 35th season of POV. I hope this film helps to set the tone for a season of remarkable films that epitomize compassion and empathy as we forge ahead with our endemic livelihoods. My first feature documentary, 'Up the Yangtze,' was broadcast on POV just before the Beijing 2008 Summer Olympics, a time when there was much curiosity about a country in flux. At that time, I hoped to present a nuanced look into modernizing China. So it feels humbling to be able to return with a new film that seeks to present a point-of-view about China that tries to go beyond the monolith trope and offer a reflection of everyday individuals who experience the pandemic with pathos and humor, anger and pragmatism, fear and joy, much like we have in North America.”

Frontline worker at window.
Stars Collective Films Entertainment Group, Inc.
Frontline worker at window.

Watch On Your Schedule:

"Wuhan Wuhan" makes its national broadcast and streaming premiere on POV, Monday, July 11, 2022 at 10 p.m. ET/9C and is available to stream free through Aug. 11, 2022 at pbs.org, and the PBS Video app.

In addition to standard closed captioning, POV, in partnership with audio description service DiCapta, provides real time audio interpretations for audiences with sensory disabilities.

Temporary hospital closing.
Stars Collective Films Entertainment Group, Inc.
Temporary hospital closing.

Credits:

A co-production of Stars Collective Films Entertainment Group Inc., SA Inc.,Starlight Media Inc. and American Documentary, in association with Kartemquin Films. Directed and written by Yung Chang and produced by Academy Award®-winner Donna Gigliotti, Peter Luo and Academy Award®-nominee Diane Quon. The executive producers are Erika Dilday and Chris White for POV and Donnie Yen, Cheng Yang and Yuki Zhang. The editors are Evita Yuepu Zhou and Zimo Huang. Music is by Hualan.

“We’re so pleased to have 'Wuhan Wuhan' open our milestone 35th season,” said American Documentary | POV Executive Director Erika Dilday. She added, “This film is exceptional in terms of its unprecedented access and storytelling as well in support of our mission to uplift BIPOC creators and stories, particularly in the current wave of violence against the AAPI and Asian American communities.”

Yangtze River
Stars Collective Films Entertainment Group, Inc.
Yangtze River