Hooligan editor Kane Platt edited The Surge at Mount Sinai, a feature-length documentary chronicling the harrowing experiences of medical workers at Mount Sinai Health System, who fought in the trenches as the novel coronavirus overwhelmed New York City.
The Surge at Mount Sinai began streaming globally on Thursday, July 1st exclusively on discovery+. Produced by purpose-driven creative studio CONVICTS and directed by Jonny Kapps, the film offers a rare and intimate window into the care and treatment of critical COVID-19 patients and the personal hardships experienced amidst the greatest public health crisis of our generation.
Editing played a key role in establishing the tone and narrative framework of The Surge at Mount Sinai, which revolves around the lives of three medical workers – both in and out of the hospital. With nearly three-quarters of the film shot, Platt worked closely with Kapps to help organize the footage and storyboard the film into three acts. From there, the duo tag-teamed on editing different sections before fine-tuning the final edit. Watch the trailer below:
“Kane and Jonny did a remarkable job bringing this critical story to life,” says Peter Maiden, Founder and CEO of CONVICTS and Executive Producer on the documentary. “It’s our hope that through this intimate look at the lives of the often-unsung heroes, the audience will experience the thoughtful care, compassion, and resilience these individuals displayed during this critical time.”
“When I saw the teaser trailer they had done for the film, I immediately got excited about collaborating with them,” shares Platt. “Jonny is an intuitive, visual filmmaker who frequently does his own editing, so he gets it and has incredible instincts. Our processes complemented each other well. Jonny operates like a jazz ensemble, always looking to improvise and I’m always asking why or what if. It was a great collaboration.”
“Kane is a mad scientist in the editing room,” adds Kapps. “From fleshing out the script to editorial pacing, his process really helped refine the narrative arc of the film while bringing a sense of cohesion between all of the different sources of footage involved. We had a healthy rub as his temperament and methodic editing approach balanced mine.“
As a lifelong New Yorker, Kapps was compelled to make the city he calls home a central character in the film. From run-and-gun shoots to camera rigs on ambulances, he shot hours and hours of B-roll, emphasizing the epic backdrop of NYC to set the visual tone of the film.
The B-roll brings a different layer of immersiveness from the city’s perspective. Juxtaposing these shots with the hospital scenes conveyed the full scope of the situation as it unfolded in real-time, impacting a city of millions.
Breaking away from the individual stories, Platt and Kapps edited a series of music video-style interstitials to add an emotional dimension to the film. These segments feature music by Bon Jovi, Cat Power, Vesa Beats, and others.
“Even beyond the interstitials, cutting scenes to music enabled us to break out and experiment,” recalls Platt. “When you’re pushing through these deeply emotional stories that you have to watch over and over making a film like this, you’ve got to find ways to keep your spirits up.”
While The Surge at Mount Sinai aims to capture the human experience of COVID-19, Kapps and Platt incorporated interviews with doctors, scientists, and health professionals to provide medical explanations of COVID-19 within the context of the story.
“Having documented everything from drug busts to gang initiations, I’ve learned to delicately approach capturing these kinds of stories,” says Kapps. “It’s a privilege to step into these people’s lives. What the medical workers experience is very real and very heavy — sometimes, even a matter of life and death. My hope is that this film honors the brave work they do; and while the subject matter is intensely emotional, I hope there’s a holistic value in the film for the viewer to feel what they feel, so that we can collectively heal.”
“As a company, we invested in this project because it was timely and important,” concludes Platt. “It felt like something we should do. You would hear about what medical workers were going through but you don’t get a full appreciation of it all until you see the depth of their despair and sacrifice. If we could capture just how important these responders are and how they rose to the occasion with the utmost compassion, then we did our job.”
The Surge at Mount Sinai is produced by CONVICTS in association with Mount Sinai Health System; directed by Jonny Kapps; executive produced by Mark Dowley, David Feinberg, Peter Maiden and Cindy Vanegas-Gesuale; produced by Sarah Hawkins and Michelle Leung; co-produced by Lucia Lee and Nicole Hudson; edited by Kane Platt; Post-production by Hooligan NYC; Original score by Hakan Eriksson; Colorist, Sofie Friis Borup from Company 3.
This film is CONVICTS’ first foray into long-form content as the studio looks to scale its development arm.