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* E. Oregon Premiere

Directors Matthew Heinman & Susan Froemke

ESCAPE FIRE: The Fight to Rescue American Healthcare tackles one of the most pressing issues of our time: how can we save our badly broken healthcare system?

American healthcare costs are rising so rapidly that they could reach $4.2 trillion annually, roughly 20% of our gross domestic product, within ten years. We spend $300 billion a year on pharmaceutical drugs – almost as much as the rest of the world combined. We pay more, yet our health outcomes are worse. About 65% of Americans are overweight and almost 75% of healthcare spending goes to preventable diseases that are the major causes of disability and death in our society.

It’s not surprising that healthcare is at the top of many Americans’ concerns and at the center of an intense political firestorm in our nation’s Capitol. But the current battle over cost and access does not ultimately address the root of the problem: we have a disease-care system, not a healthcare system. The film examines the powerful forces maintaining the status quo, a medical industry designed for quick fixes rather than prevention, for profit-driven care rather than patient-driven care.


ESCAPE FIRE also presents attainable solutions. After decades of resistance, a movement to bring innovative high-touch, low-cost methods of prevention and healing into our high-tech, costly system is finally gaining ground. Filmmakers Matthew Heineman and Susan Froemke interweave dramatic personal arcs of patients and physicians with the stories of leaders battling to transform healthcare at the highest levels of medicine, industry, government, and even the U.S. military. ESCAPE FIRE is about finding a way out of our current crisis. It’s about saving the health of a nation.

the directing duo of Matthew Heineman and Susan Froemke offer an unparalleled, unflinching, and—quite frankly—unflattering look at one of the most pressing contemporary American issues: our broken healthcare system.”
– Nate von Zumwalt – Sundance Film Festival

The Trailer

The Filmmakers


Heineman directed and produced Our Time – a feature documentary about what it’s like to be young in today’s America, which premiered on the Documentary Channel in 2011 and simultaneously on numerous digital platforms. He has directed a number of short films and commercials, and for two years he collaborated with Susan Froemke and a team at HBO on the groundbreaking, Emmy-nominated HBO series, The Alzheimer’s Project, which aired in May 2009.


Froemke is a four-time Emmy Award winner with more than 30 documentary films to her credit, from the classic Grey Gardens (1976) to Lalee’s Kin (2001), an HBO film on poverty that earned her an Academy Award nomination. The Audition, a film commissioned by the Metropolitan Opera, played in theaters nationwide in April 2009 and premiered on PBS in early 2010. Froemke was the principal filmmaker at the legendary Maysles Films in New York for over two decades. Well-known as a leader in documentary film, she has made 7 films for HBO and 13 films for PBS. Four films have been theatrically distributed and 11 have had worldwide TV distribution.



ORA-1Oregon Rural Action’s Health Care Action Team will facilitate a panel discussion after the screening. Local mental and physical health professionals will take questions with an eye towards what is
happening locally, statewide, and how to get
involved in improving our health care system.