Filmmaker Explores Intense Situations Faced by Doctors Without Borders

BY Lauren Knapp  June 21, 2010 at 11:13 AM EDT

Nearly 40 years ago, a group of French doctors and journalists created an international humanitarian organization to bring medical aid to those who were most vulnerable. Now operating in more than 60 countries, Doctors Without Borders (Médecins Sans Frontières) dispatches nearly 27,000 medical professionals to nations suffering from humanitarian and political crises.

The documentary “Living in Emergency” provides an intimate and, at times, jarring glimpse into the gritty reality of providing medical care in violent and impoverished communities.

Independent filmmaker Mark Hopkins explores volunteers’ motivations — and their limits — through the experience of four doctors working in Congo and Liberia in 2005. He spoke with Hari Sreenivasan about wanting to share a “visceral experience” of the intense situations faced by medical professionals in some of the world’s most-challenging environments.

“Living in Emergency” is playing in 18 cities nationwide.