The People’s Hospital
Directed by Jim Choi & Chihiro Wimbush
A hospital is not usually thought of as a place of warmth and community. THE PEOPLE’S HOSPITAL, a documentary directed by Jim Choi and Chihiro Wimbush and produced by CAAM, is an immersion into a space in San Francisco’s Chinatown that is vital to the well-being of the community. Located in North America’s oldest Chinatown, the hospital serves the most vulnerable — the poor, immigrant, monolingual and elderly.
Chinese Hospital began as a medical dispensary in 1899 during the height of the Chinese Exclusion Act, when other hospitals refused to accept Chinese patients. It was destroyed by the 1906 earthquake and fire and reopened in 1925 due to community support. From the food to the languages that medical professionals speak, the idea of a hospital is transformed from a sterile environment to a place that some call home.
The film uses enlightening interviews with former mayor Willie Brown, the last interviews with the late community activist Rose Pak and medical professionals who work in the hospital, some of whom were born there. The film documents the unveiling of a new medical center in 2016 — the last standing independent hospital in San Francisco — to much excitement. The film shows that the heart and soul of a community can be in the unlikeliest of places.
— Momo Chang
Expected Guests in Attendance: Jim Choi (Co-Director/Producer), Chihiro Wimbush (Co-Director/Producer)
Director of Photography: Jim Choi
Producer: Don Young
Executive Producer: Stephen Gong
Editors: Chihiro Wimbush & Jim Choi