ABC7 talks with filmmaker Hao Wu about new documentary '76 Days,' on COVID-19 outbreak in Wuhan, China

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- As COVID-19 cases soar in California, a new documentary film was released in early December that takes an inside look at the harrowing early days of the COVID-19 pandemic in Wuhan, China.

Co-directed by New York-based filmmaker Hao Wu, "76 Days" is a gripping glimpse inside four hospitals at the epicenter during the city's 76-day lockdown.

On Friday, Wu talked about his film with ABC7 News anchor Kristen Sze on Midday Live.

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Like many, Wu says he has been personally touched by the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The filmmaker was visiting his parents in Shanghai for Chinese New Year celebrations when the Wuhan lockdown began on Jan. 23.

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"My parents have late stage cancer," Wu says, "I was wondering the whole time I was there whether they would be able to see their grandkids again because we live in New York."

Wu's grandfather passed away in March from the virus, and the filmmaker was saddened that he couldn't say goodbye in person.



The film itself presents a unique collaboration given its production schedule during the pandemic.

Wu himself never went to Wuhan to film.

Instead, Wu says he relied on the work of a dozen filmmakers in China to create the footage that would comprise the project.

"My two co-directors were filming inside hospitals," the filmmaker says. "They had great access, really filming from the eye of the storm."



Wu says "76 Days" does not use a narrator to bring real-life drama to life, but rather focuses on medical workers and patients to show they helped each other to survive the brunt of the outbreak.

"That's part of the goal of the film is to show truly how horrible COVID-19 is," Wu says. "In this country, we tend to talk about COVID in matters of statistics or political divide. A lot of times, we forgot the human suffering, the real human suffering, which I think is part of the reason why in this country, a big part of the population still refuses to believe COVID 19 is real."

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Wu says he hopes "76 Days" will help us better understand the realities of the pandemic and to offer a glimmer of hope.

It has been released in virtual cinemas in the U.S. including through the Roxie.

You can read more about the documentary, the filmmakers, and where to stream it here.

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