The Waiting Room


Sat, Apr 21

   3:50 / PFA

Mon, Apr 30

   1:00 / Kabuki

Tue, May 1

   6:30 / Kabuki

Wed, May 2

   1:30 / Kabuki


USA, 2011, 81 min


Peter Nicks
Linda Davis, William B. Hirsch, Lawrence Lerew
Peter Nicks
Lawrence Lerew
Open'hood, Inc., 2600 10th Street, Suite 604A, Berkeley CA 94710. EMAIL: WEB:,

Ticket info: The following screenings of this film are "At Rush": Sat Apr 21, 3:50; Mon Apr 30, 1:00; Tue May 1, 6:30; Wed May 2, 1:30

In the shadow of the MacArthur freeway, Oakland’s Highland Hospital is the community’s busiest and perhaps most critical source of emergency medical help for the uninsured and indigent. Over 73,000 patients of every ethnicity and creed pass through the ER annually, including more than 2,000 trauma cases. Peter Nicks’ documentary is an intimate and intense day-in-the-life portrait of those seeking care, and the doctors, nurses and social workers that serve them. Ranging from underemployed to chronically destitute, the patients present a grim portrait of the country’s dual economic and healthcare crises: a middle-aged man with agonizing spinal bone spurs who must continue to work to pay his mortgage; an addict with severe respiratory issues who has nowhere to go; and a 15-year-old gunshot victim whose body is temporarily held as crime scene evidence, among others. Their vulnerability is embraced by a compassionate staff that toils under a constant state of triage, a predicament that can leave people waiting for hours. In the midst of so much pain and suffering, Nicks shows us that life’s most dire situations are often illuminated by extraordinary acts of kindness and humanity’s innate ability to find a way to connect.

—Monique Montibon

This is a Cinema by the Bay film. GGA Documentary Feature Contender.

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Peter Nicks

Emmy Award-winning filmmaker and UC Berkeley graduate Peter Nicks has produced various projects for cable, public and network television, such as the PBS documentary series Life 360 and ABC News in New York. He is also involved with social media strategy, including the companion social media site for The Waiting Room,, which features stories from Highland Hospital.