Negative stories about Memphis — emanating from within the city or from national media outlets — are all-too-common and too-often warranted. But, starting last week, local audiences got a chance to see something good and interesting about their city reflected back at them in the form of $5 Cover, Craig Brewer's made-for-MTV series about the artists and places within the city's vibrant, Midtown-oriented music scene.
Thursday night a similar opportunity presents itself at Malco's Studio on the Square with two free screenings — at 7 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. — of Getwell, a locally produced documentary about the Church Health Center, a non-profit medical provider for uninsured Memphians that is the largest faith-based health center of its kind in the country.
Shot over the past three years by local filmmakers Patrick Sheehan and Gannon Weaver through their Eyeline Films production company, Getwell tells the story of the Church Health Center's founding by Dr. Scott Morris, an Atlanta native and Yale Divinity Scholl grad. But the film's focus starts with the cuts to the state's TennCare program in 2005, opening with a gut-wrenching town-hall meeting where affected patients tell their stories to local elected officials. The TennCare cuts swelled the Center's patient load to difficult-to-manage levels, spurring Morris and the Church Health Center to make the difficult transition from a mere service provider to an advocacy group for the people it is their mission to help.
Getwell is packed with interviews with health-care providers, philanthropists, government officials, and religious leaders. But, along with Morris himself, the most compelling figures on display are the center's patients, including a lifelong blind woman with a recent cornea transplant losing her insurance and risking going blind again and a once-obese woman who transformed her entire family's lifestyle with the center's help.
Here's a sneak preview of the film: