MTV Documentary Films announced a first-of-its-kind initiative to make the award-winning documentary 76 DAYS available for free via virtual cinema to patrons in over 300 North American theaters on January 23rd, the one-year anniversary of the start of the COVID-19 lockdown in Wuhan, China.
The goal is to commemorate this historical date and support art house theaters that have struggled through the past year of temporary closures and disruptions. Patrons will have the opportunity to watch 76 DAYS for free on this day via Virtual Cinema with MTV Documentary Films donating $5 per viewing to the respective theaters (click here for a list of participating theaters). The free viewing day follows a hugely successful virtual cinema release of the film that began on December 4, 2020.
Directed by Hao Wu, Weixi Chen and “Anonymous,” 76 DAYS was produced by Hao Wu and Jean Tsien. The film was written and edited by Hao Wu and shot by Anonymous and Weixi Chen. Executive producers are Sheila Nevins, Bryn Mooser, Geralyn White Dreyfous, Naja Pham Lockwood, Jamie Chen and Roberto Grande.
The film is a raw and emotional look at the struggles of the people of Wuhan in the earliest days of the COVID-19 outbreak. Directed by New York filmmaker Wu and two China-based journalists, Chen and “Anonymous,” who took enormous personal risks to film at four different hospitals, 76 DAYS world-premiered at the 2020 Toronto International Film Festival, where it topped IndieWire’s Critics Poll as Best Documentary of the festival, and has since garnered major film festival awards and further critical acclaim, including being named one of the best films of the year by the Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, The Hollywood Reporter and IndieWire.
“After almost a year of profound challenges in the cinematic exhibition field, I am thrilled to see distributors like MTV Documentary Films stepping up to support the essential work done by community-based art houses,” said Makenzie Peecook, who works with Art House Convergence, a network of independent cinemas to whom the film is being offered for free virtual cinema screenings.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted almost everyone on this planet, in ways big and small, since its initial outbreak in Wuhan,” added filmmaker Hao Wu. “We made 76 DAYS to honor frontline medical workers worldwide, and to remind viewers everywhere never to forget the pain and struggles of this pandemic. We are so grateful that MTV Documentary Films and independent theaters across the country are creating this opportunity on the first anniversary of Wuhan’s lockdown. My co-directors and I hope that watching this film provides a reason for optimism and that by working together, we can leave this nightmare behind.”
“As the anniversary of Wuhan’s lockdown approaches, we’re proud to make 76 DAYS – the pre-eminent look at the pandemic from day one – available through this unique opportunity and do our small part in helping theaters who have been decimated during this time,” said MTV Documentary Films co-heads Nina L. Diaz and Liza Burnett Fefferman.
On January 23rd, 2020, China locked down Wuhan, a city of 11 million, to combat the emerging COVID-19 outbreak. Set deep inside the frontlines of the crisis, 76 DAYS tells indelible human stories at the center of this pandemic—from a woman begging in vain to bid a final farewell to her father, a grandfather with dementia searching for his way home, a couple anxious to meet their newborn, to a nurse determined to return personal items to families of the deceased. These intimate stories bear witness to the death and rebirth of a city under a 76-day lockdown, and to the compassion and human resilience that persists in times of profound tragedy.