Private Project

The Surge at Mount Sinai

The Surge at Mount Sinai is a feature-length documentary that tells the intimate story of front line healthcare workers in New York City during the devastating COVID-19 surge in the spring of 2020. This film exists in mourning and memoriam for all of the citizens of New York--and the human family--who lost their lives to COVID-19.

We created The Surge to share and amplify the untold stories of front-line workers who demonstrated superhuman levels of self-sacrifice in their fight against the novel coronavirus. Finally, this film exists to celebrate the progress that New York City and the world have made in the struggle against this global pandemic.

  • Jonny Kapps
  • Sarah Hawkins
  • Michelle Leung
  • Lucia Lee
  • Nicci Cheatham
  • Rhys Carlill
  • Jonny Kapps
  • Nicolas Vajello
  • Kane Platt
  • Hakan Eriksson
    Original Score
  • Raphaël Ajuelos
    Sound Design & Re-Recording Mixer
  • Sofie Friis Borup
  • Mark Dowley
    Executive Producers
  • David Feinberg
    Executive Producers
  • Peter Maiden
    Executive Producers
  • Cindy Vanegas-Gesuale
    Executive Producers
  • Project Type:
  • Runtime:
    1 hour 14 minutes 18 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    June 30, 2021
  • Production Budget:
    850,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
    Digital, Arri ALEXA Mini
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
Distribution Information
  • Discovery+
    Country: Worldwide
    Rights: Internet, Video on Demand
  • Foxtel
    Country: Australia
    Rights: Internet, Video on Demand
Director Biography - Jonny Kapps

Jonny Kapps is an award winning film maker based in New York City. Motivated chiefly from a restless curiosity and an inquisitive drive, his stories aim to bring the human condition into a cinema space. Tone, light and tempo combined with an ear-to-the-ground approach, Jonny strives to deliver a version of storytelling that bursts with authenticity and aesthetics.

His creative aptitude has technical backbone as he often joins the camera team offering the precise intimacy of a director as well as the balance between beauty, detail and narrative.

Jonny recently completed a feature length documentary titled “The Surge at Mount Sinai”. Streaming on Discovery+, this film focuses in on three health care workers as they navigate the trauma of the peak months of the Covid 19 pandemic. Additionally, his clients include HBO, Disney, National Geographic, Vice, Nike, Google, Amazon, Marvel, Food Network, Red Bull and more.

Add Director Biography
Director Statement

Since day one, my key intention for this documentary, ‘The Surge at Mount Sinai’ was for it to be a film that would act not only as a testimony to the strength of the human spirit amidst trauma, but also as a stepping-stone towards the healing process. Nobody knew exactly what this was going to be like, but we knew it was going to be hard and we knew it was going to be painful. But like in all great stories, within the struggle are lessons and tools for change. I wanted this film to focus not just on these struggles, but to also highlight the incredible strength and coping tools that were created as a result of this situation. I wanted this film to contribute to the search for answers, to explore and learn about the simplicity and the strength of the human condition.

In the Spring of 2020, the pandemic rose and the world shut down. Thankfully, It seemed like only moments before that fear turned into hope as we watched thousands of healthcare workers throw themselves into the battlegrounds of Covid-19. At that moment, everyone knew we were witnessing history and I felt propelled to capture this contribution however I could. The Surge At Mount Sinai is a documentary film born entirely out of the situation at hand, and each step of the way we allowed the unfolding events and our characters to form the story we would tell on-screen.

As we were defining our approach to this film, we knew that the only stories we wanted to tell were the stories of people at the epicenter of the disease - full stop. I wanted the viewer to feel the same thing I had felt whenever I came across a news report of a healthcare worker’s sacrifice, or a story of a loved one recovering. I wanted the viewer to tap into that appreciation and humility. One thing I felt strongly about was sharing the most unfiltered view from the most direct source, whilst still respecting the sensitivity of both people’s privacy and the circumstances in front of us. Thankfully, due to the guidance and consideration of Mount Sinai Health System, we were able to tell a very intimate and cinematic story of patient accounts and worker’s experiences from both within and outside the hospital walls. We built our film around three main characters from three different positions in a hospital. This created a rounded out and diverse arc which allowed the viewer entry to the full range of emotions experienced during
this time.

I wanted to use these character driven stories as a tool to encourage the viewer to really look deep at things we normally turn away from. I knew that we didn’t want to throw endless statistics at our viewer so the fact that we were able to mesh science along with personal experience allowed us to present a dynamic and approachable film. With such a delicate topic, I wanted to make sure we built up and embraced both forms of language. Maybe the two aren’t exclusive, but I wanted to make sure we could deliver the security of information and knowledge as well as celebrate the warmth and support of family and relationships. It’s both of those elements that deliver us through hardships.

As one of the subjects in our film described - Getting better isn’t just physical, it's mental, it's emotional - it's talking, sharing and connecting our lives. For us, we hope this film answers a few questions, sheds light on some of the confusion and honors the account of how New York City began to heal.