World Premiere, US Documentary Competition, Sundance Film Festival 2019
In Mexico City’s wealthiest neighborhoods, the Ochoa family runs a private ambulance, competing with other for-profit EMTs for patients in need of urgent help. As the Ochoas try to make a living in this cutthroat industry, they struggle to keep their financial needs from compromising the people in their care.
Directed by Luke Lorentzen
Produced by Kellen Quinn and Luke Lorentzen
Producers: Elena Fortes and Daniela Alatorre
Publicity: Susan Norget Film Promotion, publicity[at]norget.com
Sales: Autlook, Salma Abdalla, salma[at]autlookfilms.com
AWARDS:U.S. Documentary Special Jury Award for Cinematography, Sundance Film Festival
Premio Mezcal for Best Film, Guadalajara International Film Festival
Premio Mezcal for Best Director, Guadalajara International Film Festival
Premio Guerrero de la Prensa, Red de Prensa Mexicana de Cine
SCREENINGS:Sundance Film Festival, January 2019
Cartagena International Film Festival, March 2019
Guadalajara International Film Festival, March 2019
Ambulante Mexico, March-May 2019
CPH:DOX, Copenhagen, March 2019
Hong Kong International Film Festival, March 2019
Houston Latino Film Festival, March 2019
New Directors/New Films, MoMA and Lincoln Center, New York, March 2019
Night Visions, Helsinki, March 2019
Lost Weekend, Winchester, VA, March 2019
DocVille Belgium, Brussels, March 2019
Full Frame Documentary Film Festival, Durham, April 2019
ACT Human Rights Festival, Colorado State University, April 2019
Freep Film Festival, Detroit, April 2019
Minneapolis International Film Festival, April 2019
Sarasota Film Festival, April 2019
DOCS10, Chicago, April 2019
San Francisco International Film Festival, April 2019
HotDocs, Toronto, April 2019
PRESS:“Arguably the most exhilarating documentary to come out of Sundance this year, Midnight Family follows the Ochoa family... at intensely close range on these Sisyphean missions of mercy.“
- New Directors/New Films
"A gripping doc... Serving as his own cinematographer and editor, director Lorentzen generates intense empathy... The film achieves a powerful measure of suspense that’s intricately tied up in its despairing sociological depiction of a system that’s come apart at the seams."
– Nick Schager, Variety
Included in “35 Must-See Films” of Sundance
"We watch wholly involved as a Mexico City family business of private ambulance providers tries to balance genuine care with the need to earn a living."
– Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times
"A riveting documentary... Filmed in a stylish yet observational style, it’s easy to forget the director and his camera in the middle of these life-or-death moments... Midnight Family is both a compassionate portrait of a working-class family and a frightening ride through a broken healthcare system."
– Monica Castillo, The Wrap
Included in “21 Must-See Movies” at Sundance
"An intimate verite documentary... the Ochoas emerge as fascinating embodiments of a country working overtime to correct its shortcomings and keep the lights on. This bracing U.S. competition documentary is poised to provide a personal window into the fast-paced mayhem of Mexico after dark."
– Eric Kohn, Indiewire
Included in the “10 Best Movies of Sundance 2019"
"A deft mix of big-picture doc-making and intimate moments (the scene in which an abused woman asks for a hug is quietly heartbreaking), not to mention a wild — and remarkably eye-opening — ride.”
– David Fear, Rolling Stone
"Poetically composed and effortlessly segueing between graveyard-shift stillness and chaotic rides through the darkened streets of Mexico City, Midnight Family is a unique cinematic gem... A rare glimpse into an incongruous underworld characterized by equal parts heroic acts and monotonous labor."
– Lauren Wissot, Filmmaker Magazine.com
“Profound and thrilling cinema verite filmmaking. The film is impeccably crafted by Luke Lorentzen… What matters most here is Lorentzen’s intuition—he knows during many stunning moments just where to put the camera in such close quarters, letting us observe as harrowing drama and cinematic poetry unfolds… The movie plays out in a raw and unpredictable fashion... 'Midnight Family' is extremely visceral in the best way.”
– Nick Allen, Roger Ebert.com
"Combining edge-of-your seat thrills with intimate family moments, the doc coalesces to devastating effect. Doubly impressive is that Lorentzen pulled this off as a one-man crew.”
– Matt Delman, Hammer to Nail