The powerful documentary Midnight Family follows a family that operates a private ambulance in Mexico City. Luke Lorentzen incredibly captures the Ochoa’s struggle between providing healthcare for patients and making a living. Moreover, the film disturbingly depicts the monstrously broken healthcare system in Mexico City.
Luke provides some insight on the making of Midnight Family:
What was the origin for making this movie?
There’s a lot that goes into finding a subject. I wanted to make a film that provided a thrilling experience for the audience. The Ochoa family provided the story to allow such a film to be made.
It’s rare to find characters like the Ochoa’s that are so full. Their life embodies so many different emotions; humor, tragedy, empathy.
How did you discover the Ochoa family?
I actually met them outside my apartment building. I instantly became interested in their family and their business. I spent one gut wrenching night on the ambulance and knew I wanted to make the film. I spent 3 years shooting the documentary approximately 80-90 nights on the ambulance.
What was your main objective when making this film?
Originally I had intended the film to strictly be an observational film based on this roller coaster of emotions that comes with running an ambulance in Mexico City. The social issues and corruption of the local law enforcement came later-organically as I filmed. The primary focus was definitely this incredibly dynamic family which I knew could carry the film.
How would you describe filming and making this movie?
A definite rollercoaster of emotions, you never knew if you would be laughing or crying. At the same time there are big ethical questions. Some nights you feel like the Ochoa family are heroic; like the scene where they save a baby’s life. In other instances, they do things they wish they didn’t have to do to put food on their table.
Key takeaway from the film?
It is important to me not to sugar coat things. I wanted to give the full spectrum of the story. The Ochoa family are a warm, good hearted, hard working family. Unfortunately, they are trapped in a dysfunctional system. Forced to make difficult decisions. They don’t have the luxury to always do the right thing. There is no out and things get really complicated.
Luke Lorentzen will be participating in a Q & A following the screenings of his documentary Midnight Family on 5/30-8:30 PM and 6/1-8:15 PM