Triage: Dr James Orbinski’s Humanitarian Dilemma

A film by Patrick Reed | Canada | English/French | 88′ / 46′

Triage is the ultimate humanitarian nightmare. Racing against time with limited resources, relief workers make split-second decisions about who gets treatment? Who gets food? Who lives? Who dies?  This impossible dilemma haunts Dr. James Orbinski, recipient of the 1999 Nobel Peace Prize as President of Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF).

Now, leaving his young family behind in Toronto, Canada, Orbinski returns to Africa to revisit his past and engage with his present. He hopes that here, in places where he witnessed humanity literally torn apart, he can rediscover the true heart of humanitarianism.

In Triage, Orbinski travels to war-torn Somalia, the first place he was posted with MSF in 1992, then to Rwanda, where he was MSF Head of Mission during the 1994 genocide and then finally to Goma, Democratic Republic of Congo, where it seems humanitarian dreams go to die.

Filmed in an intense verité style by the creative team behind the award-winning documentaryShake Hands With the Devil, Triage showcases Dr. James Orbinski—a father, a doctor, a humanitarian—who has saved lives and lost lives, and has personally witnessed a world gone astray. In Triage, he searches for a new path and invites the viewer to follow.

Produced by White Pine Pictures in coproduction with The National Film Board of Canada, in association with CanWest Media TM. with the support of The Government of Canada through the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), The Canadian Film or Video Production Tax Credit, with the Assistance of The Government of Ontario, The Ontario Film and Television Tax Credit

“One of the most intellectually complicated and compelling characters in any recent documentary.”

Globe and Mail

“Five Inspirational Stars to Orbinski, Reed, and Peter Raymont’s company which has brought us Shake Hands with the Devil, Ariel Dorfman (A Promise to the Dead) and now this great stimuation on humanitarianism.”

POV Magazine

“The film, in a literal sense, shows the difference one person can make.”

USA Today

“… Reed’s portrait isn’t that Orbinski is defiant of danger, but that his sense of decency is so strong it over-powers any fear.”

Variety