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Accident, MD

Accident, MD is a survey of attitudes about America’s healthcare crisis, filmed in and around the small town of Accident, Maryland.

  • Dan Rybicky
    Almost There
  • Dan Rybicky
    Almost There
  • Brian Ashby
    Speaking is Difficult
  • Brian Ashby
  • Project Type:
  • Genres:
    Comedy, Drama, Documentary
  • Runtime:
    19 minutes 45 seconds
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • Winner Vimeo's 2019 "Best of the Year" Award
    New York, New York
    United States
    January 11, 2020
    Best Documentary of the Year
  • Big Sky Documentary Film Festival
    Missoula, Montana
    United States
    February 17, 2019
    Northwestern Premiere
    Official Selection
  • Chicago International Film Festival
    United States
    October 11, 2018
    Midwest Premiere
    Official Selection
  • Maryland Film Festival
    Baltimore, MD
    United States
    May 2, 2018
    World Premiere
    Opening Nights Shorts Gala Selection
Distribution Information
  • PBS/Independent Lens
    Country: United States
    Rights: Free TV
  • Vimeo
    Rights: Internet
  • YouTube/Omeleto
    Country: Worldwide
    Rights: Internet
Director Biography - Dan Rybicky

DAN RYBICKY is an award-winning filmmaker who tells stories from a queer perspective to inspire conversations about complicated American issues. He produced and co-directed Kartemquin Films' critically-acclaimed feature documentary "Almost There" which was distributed theatrically, digitally, and on public television in 2016, and his short documentary "Accident, MD" won Vimeo's 2019 Best of the Year Award after receiving a favorable review in The New Yorker and being broadcast nationally on PBS/Independent Lens. His latest short documentaries - "Larry from Gary" (about a dance teacher in Gary, Indiana) and "Stormy and the Admirals" (about a group of elderly feminists in Chicago who go see Stormy Daniels strip) - will be released in 2020 and 2021. [danrybicky.com]

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Director Statement

I was rushed to Northwestern Hospital in Chicago because of a kidney stone attack, and the bill I received for my ninety minutes in their emergency room came to over $10,000. Even after insurance, I had to pay a lot – and I’m still not sure why or what for. The procedure I had weeks later to remove the stone cost over $30,000 - and again, I didn’t fully understand why.

My confusion about what the costs were specifically for and why they were so high reminded me of other questions people have about healthcare - like, why can't paying at a hospital be like shopping at a store or eating at a restaurant? And I became interested in finding out how this obfuscation of pricing might influence the way people assign blame for their problems more broadly.

Around the same time, I was attending film festivals throughout the country in support of my feature documentary Almost There, which focused on an 83-year-old “outsider” artist living in at-risk conditions. After screenings, I was surprised at how often audience members wanted to discuss their deep response to what the story brought up for them in terms of mental and physical health and the state of aging in America today. People were compelled to share with me how they had been impacted by our healthcare system, and their personal stories were consistently sad, funny, and heartbreaking - sometimes all at once.

The stories I heard made me want to investigate Americans’ moral and philosophical approaches to concepts of "health" and "care" more fully - including the possible ways in which American exceptionalism (or whatever it is that makes us American) influences how we think and feel about these concepts. Inspired by this, and in the spirit of keeping the healthcare conversation alive - but in a funny, human way (similar to the wry style of Errol Morris’ Vernon, Florida) – I decided to make Accident, MD.

I grew up in a small town about the same size as Accident, and making this film felt like coming home. Many of the participants reminded me of neighbors and relatives, and their sense of fairness and justice (based on their allegiances to changing local identities and economic prospects) helps shed light on the paradoxical situation we're in today - one in which Republicans can promise to expand health coverage by dismantling the Affordable Care Act.

As a piece of journalism - and in terms of takeaway - the film provides a platform for rural Americans to express their complicated and sometimes contradictory feelings about the healthcare crisis. In sharing a mosaic of attitudes from the forgotten voices living in a part of the country which helped elect Trump, I was hoping to show how all of us – right and left, liberal and conservative – agree that the system is broken, even as we remain conflicted about whether or not healthcare is a right, and who is ultimately responsible for taking care of who.