Frequent Caller - Documentary

We're raising $15,000 to fund the completion of the feature length documentary 'Frequent Caller.' The film is an intimate look at the lives of Santa Fe emergency workers, whose groundbreaking program helps those who frequently use 911 services for their basic medical needs, find the care and support they desperately need.

The Short Pitch

    Faith, together with a handful of other paramedics and social workers, work to help Santa Fe's most vulnerable people get the support they desperately need. The film is an intimate look at this groundbreaking program and follows Faith and her co-workers as they struggle to help clients find a second chance at life, changing their lives and the workers lives forever. MIHO can be a model that can be adopted by cities nationwide to save lives and save healthcare costs.

    Frequent Caller is a feature length documentary in the making. It's a story that paramedics in every city in the country can relate to, because many of them live it every day. Frequent callers, frequent flyers, high-utilizers, system abusers—these are the names paramedics use to describe the roster of people who call on emergency services for their basic medical needs, and much more.. Faith, a Santa Fe firefighter and paramedic, calls them her clients and friends. Regardless of what you call them, they are real people with incredible stories of humility, depression, adventure, addiction, and tragedy. A stroke of bad luck, and you could become a frequent caller.   

The funds will go to Free Voice Media, a nonprofit 501(c)3 where it will be used for travel, production expenses, gear rental, legal fees, and a stipend for cinematography. We are grateful for any support you provide.

31110792_1530900377661748_r.jpeg
- Faith and Ramos in MIHO's office, Station 6.

    Frequent Caller is a feature length documentary in the making. It's a story that paramedics in every city in the country can relate to, becausemany of them live it every day. Frequent callers, frequent flyers, high-utilizers, system abusers—these are the names paramedics use to describe the roster of people who call on emergency services for their basic medical needs, and much more.. Faith, a Santa Fe firefighter and paramedic, calls them her clients and friends. Regardless of what you call them, they are real people with incredible stories of humility, depression, adventure, addiction, and tragedy. A stroke of bad luck, and you could become a frequent caller.   

    Technically, a frequent caller is someone who is transported often to the hospital in an ambulance. In Santa Fe you’re considered a frequent caller if you’re taken to the hospital by ambulance more than four times in a year. Some people are transported four times a week. Anthony Jojala was one of them. Tony used to be homeless, and he has suffered from alcohol addiction for nearly ten years. He had a predilection for passing out in front of McDonalds. Eventually, a concerned passerby would call 911. The medics would show up and have no other option but to take him to the hospital, where he would sleep it off and repeat the process, often the same day. Tony’s current recovery is in large part thanks to Faith and the rest of the small team of SFFD paramedics that make up the Mobile Integrated Health Office (MIHO).  

31110792_1530903345284141_r.jpeg- Anthony Jojala at a Santa Fe Shelter.

     What MIHO practices is a relatively new and progressive form of care called mobile integrated healthcare or community paramedicine. Faith acts as a careworker to ten clients a quarter. It's a tough job and she often starts it by playing detective. How do you find people that are often without homes, cell phones, or jobs? Some clients, including Tony, work with Faith for three months at a time. 

     For the MIHO staff, the goal is simple: help frequent callers find the support and stability they need (addiction treatment, a ride to the doctor, counselling, a valid license, an apartment, a long term connection to social services and caseworkers). For the fire department this means fewer unnecessary calls and faster response times for true emergencies. For the city, taxpayers, hospitals, and healthcare insurers, this means decreased costs. For Faith, who was previously an ambulance paramedic, this means she now has a chance to truly help the people she often just transported to the hospital. For Tony and many other MIHO clients, the program provides real people that care for them. It also means a second chance at life.  

31110792_153090193529363_r.jpeg- Faith and her clients Ray and Kathryn walk to a downtown meeting place.

From Faith Applewhite - SFFD Paramedic  

    I was drawn to begin volunteering and riding along at the fire department almost 20 years ago, getting my EMT license when I was 16 and having worked on an ambulance or fire engine in some capacity since then. I was immediately enamored with the profession -- getting to interact with people in their worst moments and work to help them. But over the years, it became increasingly clear that even though we get so many opportunities to be with people in their times of need, the tools we have (a fire engine, ambulance, advanced cardiac and trauma resuscitation equipment, and the ability to take people to the emergency room quickly) so often don’t match our patients’ needs.  

    Unfortunately, most parts of healthcare system in the US aren’t well situated to help the people who need it the most, but fire departments are uniquely positioned to fill this gap. We are strategically placed throughout communities across the country with mobile infrastructure needed to help get patients to the right systems, and to get the systems out to the patients. In MIHO, we have the opportunity to navigate our most vulnerable community members through the complex organizations designed, but sometimes not otherwise able, to help them. It’s been unbelievably educational and inspiring to work with these individuals as we team up with them to accomplish goals. As the adage goes, of course, I’ve learned more from them than they ever will from me, and a few of them have even been willing to tell their stories on camera. Greg is helping us honor their honesty by sharing their voices, thanks for watching!

From the Director, Greg Cairns - About the Film

    MIHO’s story needs to be shared. It is a compelling and inspiring example of what it means to care for those around you, especially when they are strangers. What separates this story from other healthcare documentaries is the combination of a serious national crisis paired with the insightful and refreshing direct solutions of a few caring paramedics. MIHO is potentially a model for thousands of fire departments. The work of Faith and her coworkers is focused, progressive, and tangible. As SFFD’s Fire Chief Erik Litzenberg said “I think we are world class and I don't mind that being shared.” We also have rare access to patients and paramedics. For anyone familiar with film and HIPPAA laws, this is not an easy thing to establish.  


    We are still filming right now as Faith takes on new clients and helps Tony apply for long-term housing. We will film with Faith, Tony, MIHO, and other clients for the next nine months. We still need to film with clients before they enter the program in order to understand how people become frequent callers. We also need to capture their backstories and follow up with clients after they leave the program. We hope to have a finished project by the fall of 2019. Upon completion, we will submit Frequent Caller to film festivals and then release the film to the world! Our goal is to create a riveting yet informative 90-minute documentary intended to inspire the public, educate EMS professionals, and create empathy for people living with mental illness and homelessness.

31110792_1530902295827894_r.jpegDirector Greg Cairns interviews a SFFD paramedic about high-utilization.

Greg Cairns - Writer / Director
    Greg is a documentary filmmaker and commercial director with roots in Montana. He is the executive director of Free Voice Media. His films have screened at festivals including San Juan Film Festival, Durango Independent Film Festival, Flagstaff Mountain Film Festival, and Action On Film. In 2017 his film Out There won Best Short Doc at Durango Independent Film Festival. 

Chet Stefan - Production Assistant
    Chet is a cinematographer, editor, and Conservation Ecology student at Montana State University. He aspires to communicate scientific research for broader audiences through his photographs, videos, and graphic design. He has worked on larval caddisflies, biological control of noxious weeds, and raptors around Southwest Montana.

Jonna McKone - Consulting Producer
     Jonna is an award-winning artist, documentarian, journalist and researcher based in Brooklyn and Baltimore. She is currently a Lewis Hine fellow, working on a film in Maryland's Dorchester County, and co-producing a feature documentary. Jonna is a graduate of Bowdoin College and holds an MFA from Duke University. 

Elliott Woods - Consulting Producer
    Elliott's journalism exploits have taken him from the battlefields of the Middle East to the frozen islands of the Russian Arctic. His work has received top honors from the American Society of Magazine Editors and has been featured in the Best American Travel Writing. In 2017, Elliott's “The Fight for Chinko” has won the Overseas Press Club of America's Whitman Bassow Award, for the best reporting in any medium on international environmental issues.


31110792_1530901960729772_r.jpegA frequent caller sits outside the hospital in 50 degree temps.

    To complete this story, we need additional footage of Faith, her clients’ back stories, and footage of their paths to recovery . We plan to film their family and relationships, especially the connection between Faith and Tony. The goal we are setting for this campaign will get us through principal photography. The next step will be to find grants to cover our post-production costs that will require an editor, composer, color , audio mix, and distribution. 

   The percentage breakdown: Professional Cinematographers: 39%, Production Expenses: 20%, GoFundMe Share: 8%, Gear Rental: 14%, Computers/Servers: 11%, Legal Fees: 8%.

Stay Connected

     We’ll be posting updates as we move forward with production.. We’d love to hear from you. Follow us to keep up to date & stay connected: 

Freevoicemedia.org 

FVM on Facebook 

A Resource We Love  

    If you know someone who is affected by anything in this project, there are some fantastic mental health and social services organizations available to help. You can find many of them using the SAMHSA Services Map . Use this map to locate organizations in your area.

In The News

Santa Fe New Mexican - Santa Fe's Mobile Health Office Catches Film Crew's Attention - Link

EMS1 - NM mobile health unit catches film crew’s attention (reprint) - Link

EMS World - N.M. Mobile Health Unit to Be Featured in Documentary - Link

Donations ()

  • Elinor & Paul Hoover 
    • $150 
    • 12 mos
  • Ed Gorel 
    • $50 
    • 12 mos
  • Diana Applewhite 
    • $100 
    • 12 mos
  • Daniel Glick 
    • $50 
    • 17 mos
  • Mandy Henkler 
    • $50 
    • 18 mos
See all

Organizer

Greg Cairns 
Organizer
Bozeman, MT
Free Voice Media 
Registered nonprofit
Donations are 100% tax deductible.
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