Sidewinder Films has several upcoming projects in the works at varying stages of development. Stay tuned to check on the progress of these films!
End Game will premiere at Sundance 2018 and will begin appearing on Netflix on Friday, May 4, 2018.
BJ Miller decided to become a doctor after surviving his own medical crisis: in a college prank gone haywire he was electrocuted and lost most of his left arm and both legs below the knees. This experience set him on his life’s professional mission, leading him to a relatively new branch of medicine devoted to the relief of suffering, called palliative care. Miller has a practice in San Francisco, at UCSF Medical Center. He and the founding director of the palliative care unit at UCSF, the visionary Dr. Steve Pantilat, work with chronically and terminally ill patients. Pantilat recalls taking care of a young woman with leukemia when he was just an intern. “She had a two year old daughter. I was just at the beginning of my training and I could see that we were going nowhere and she was going to die. The rest of my team, including the attending physician, did not acknowledge that at all. Maybe she doesn’t want to be in our hospital. Maybe she’d rather be home in her own bed reading a book to her two year old. We didn’t give her the choice.” As medical care has become more centered on treatments, cures, and fixes that can increase suffering, these doctors are often the first to have a direct conversation with their patients about their time remaining and quality of life.
END GAME will follow both doctors as they do their compassionate work, often lingering by bedsides of terminally ill patients while listening to their stories. They are empathetic and unafraid to be honest. Above all, they want their patients to make informed choices about their treatment and how they want to live in the time they have left. In fact, they are on a broader mission to change the way we all think about our last moments on this earth. Until recently, BJ Miller was also the face of the Zen Hospice Project, a 30-year-old residential facility in a classic San Francisco Victorian founded in the early years of the AIDS crisis. For many of those years, UCSF’s Palliative Care team has referred patients to the Zen Hospice Guest House. 1 Telling Pictures has been granted unprecedented access to these two institutions. We will follow these exceptional doctors and the dedicated staff they work with – nurses, social workers, chaplains – as they guide patients and their families through choices that will profoundly change the course of their lives in the time they have left. In the course of several research days at ZHP and UCSF we identified such potential subjects as a grandmother dying of lung cancer whose grandson was trying to convince her to try medical marijuana; a San Quentin prisoner who was shackled to his bed with two armed guards standing by, doubling as his medical proxies and companions; a 37-year-old chef with a brain tumor who finds joy in specially prepared meals and drumming sessions with his nursing aid. These are the sorts of patients we will follow from UCSF to the Zen Hospice Guest House, capturing their intimate conversations with families, doctors, and caregivers, as they make perhaps the last and most important choices of their lives.
“People come here to die. But it’s also true that people come here to live.” -BJ Miller, M.D.
Dr. Steven Ungerleider and David Ulich of Sidewinder Films are executive producers for End Game.
For over 30 years, Dr. Larry Nassar worked with athletes – in particular gymnasts – as an athletic trainer and team physician. During that time accusations and mounting evidence grew against Nassar as young women came forward describing the abuse they endured from Nassar while he was supposed to be keeping them healthy and well for competition.
While individuals stepped forward on their own, Nassar was protected and backed by two powerful institutions — Michigan State University and USA Gymnastics. Both groups failed – on multiple occasions – to take action when victims came forward. Individuals failed to report the abuse to police.
It wasn’t until 2016, after a report by The Indianapolis Star, that the tide began to turn against Nassar. Emboldened by the investigative journalism, victims came forward in groups with lawsuits against Nassar and the institutions which had shielded him for so long.
“Inner Screams” shares the difficult experiences faced by many of Nassar’s victims. Directed by Erin Lee Carr, this documentary explores the weak points in a sports system that allowed a predator to abuse young women for over 30 years despite consistent allegations of abuse.
Dr. Steven Ungerleider and David Ulich of Sidewinder Films are executive producers for Inner Screams.
This biopic will take a closer look into the life of tennis legend Arthur Ashe. Not only was he one of the top tennis players of his time, he was also a civil rights advocate and held the remarkable position of being the first black man to win the singles title at Wimbledon, the US Open, and the Australian Open.
Dr. Steven Ungerleider and David Ulich of Sidewinder Films are executive producers for Ashe ’68.
“Life After Sports” (working title)
This original documentary by Sidewinder Films (SWF) seeks to explore the value of the amateur and international sports experience. What does participation mean for young women and men facing their post-athletic life? Many experience the elation of competition, which is followed by some disillusionment—a natural part of facing the end of one of life’s chapters. SWF will look at lessons learned by these athletes and by those who stepped in to provide guidance.
As we will discover in the film, many of these athletes have proven themselves to be dedicated to personal achievement and in many cases team loyalty. How can they use these assets in their life to come? Helping athletes is what The Foundation for Global Sports Development is all about. The Foundation has been providing support to young athletes for a quarter century, with much of that support provided through the United States Olympic Committee (USOC). With the backing of the Foundation, SWF will examine this issue with the objective of providing a road map for athletes in transition. In the end, the expectation is that participation sports on the amateur or international level is a great first step into success in life.