Kirby Dick and Amy Ziering Interview: ‘The Bleeding Edge’
“We tend to like to make films in areas where no one else is,” explains “The Bleeding Edge” producer Amy Ziering, “and we also like to break news. We like to look at things that no one knows about yet, and bring that story to the public.” This drive led her and director Kirby Dick to examine the unforeseen consequences of the quickly-growing medical device industry, where the rush to innovation can often cause irreparable harm to patients. Watch our exclusive video interview with Ziering and Dick above.
Dick reveals that in their research they discovered “tens of thousands of medical devices” on the market, and “thousands of them have huge problems.” And because of the limited coverage of these devices and their human costs “these patients who have been harmed thought that they were the only one, but in fact there were hundreds, thousands, tens of thousands of people harmed for each device.”
The film makes shockingly clear the uncertainty that comes with medical implants, which is often underplayed to the people putting them in their bodies. “We’re sold that these are incredibly innovative, they’re going to save our lives,” says Dick, “but no one’s ever told about the risk. One of the reasons is most of these devices that are implanted in people actually aren’t tested in people first, so no one really knows what the risks are.” And it’s not just the patients. “The doctors themselves don’t know,” which makes them “victims in this whole equation too.”
Dick and Ziering have often been ahead of the curve when it comes to social issues. Their Oscar-nominated films “The Invisible War” (Best Documentary Feature in 2012) and “The Hunting Ground” (Best Original Song in 2015) examined sexual assault in the military and on college campuses before issues of harassment and abuse exploded in the national consciousness. “I think that our films and the groundbreaking work that they did helped usher in #MeToo,” says Ziering. Now with “The Bleeding Edge,” “our hope and vision is similar. No one’s been talking about devices,” but perhaps “in five years, [the film] will put this issue on the map.”
“The Hunting Ground” earned Dick and Ziering an Emmy bid for Exceptional Merit in Documentary Filmmaking. They won two News Emmys for “The Invisible War” (Best Documentary and Best Investigative Journalism – Long Form). And Dick additionally contended at the Oscars for “Twist of Faith” (Best Documentary Feature in 2004), which looked at sexual abuse in the Catholic Church.
“The Bleeding Edge” is now streaming on Netflix.