Safe Sets: Dying to Work in the Film Industry

Boston, Massachusetts | Film Feature Documentary

Film workers are demanding more. Not only more money, but more dignity, safety, respect and support from employers. Safe Sets supports them by shedding a bright light on many serious systemic problems in the industry that urgently need to be resolved. Help us give them a bigger platform!

Mission Statement

Safe Sets dives into sleep deprivation, substance addiction, toxic exposure, abuse of power, accidents and more, supported by stock, newsreel, and behind-the-scenes photos and footage. The film conveys hope that the tireless work of advocates within the industry will spark change for the better.

The Story

John Malkovich

Safe Sets: Dying to Work in the Film Industry is a feature length exploration of systemic issues impacting the health and wellbeing of film workers. Produced and directed by Paul Heinzelmann, a physician and former clinical instructor at Harvard Medical School, this film was shot in Boston, Los Angeles, Oakland, and Vancouver.

The film weaves together candid interviews with technicians, union representatives, public health experts, and notable performers (Jon Hamm and John Malkovich) with the story of Dr. Paul's effort to conduct research into health and safety in the film industry.

The cumulative impacts of sleep deprivation, toxic exposure, stress, long hours, accidents and other issues we explore in are not only detrimental and unhealthy, but potentially deadly for film workers. Stunts-gone-wrong and other accidents happen all the time on film sets. Not just the ones that make the news – workers die with such regularity that the life expectancy of film workers is estimated by some to be many years shorter than the national average. Additionally, workers frequently succumb to untreated injuries, illnesses, substance use dependencies and mental health issues because they lack the time and resources to schedule medical appointments or to simply rest and heal.

Lori Stewart

It doesn't have to be this way. In many other countries – even on some North American productions – great content is created in normal 8 to 10 hour work days. Workers have time to decompress, rest, spend time with loved ones, and indulge in recreational hobbies. A well-rested, happy worker is less prone to accidents, less likely to be abusive or be abused, and less vulnerable to dangerous mental and physical health issues. They are apt to thrive – not just survive.

Doreen Manuel

We're in the final phase of post-production. Your support will fund high-quality editing, mesmerizing color grading, captivating music, and impeccable sound design, and will help us secure the necessary rights and licenses for archival footage and music, adding depth and authenticity to the narrative. Additionally, administrative support is essential for the seamless execution of our project, ensuring that every detail is handled with precision and care.

Your generosity will also help to fuel our marketing efforts. From film festival submissions that open doors to global audiences to the creation of compelling promotional materials, your support is the key to making our project stand out. Targeted outreach campaigns will amplify the message, ensuring that Safe Sets reaches its intended audience and makes a lasting impact.

We're on the cusp of completing the fine cut, with only a few temporary graphics standing between us and cinematic perfection. Your contribution will help us get there faster – let's bring this vision to life together! Color correction and audio mastering are the final touches that elevate our project to its full potential, and your support makes this possible.

Join us in the final stretch of this creative process – your support is not just an investment in a film; it's a testament to the power of community and shared passion for safer workplaces. Together, let's make this dream a reality!



Patsy Productions


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Project Tel: 262-349-0126
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