Ambulances of Mexico in Sundance

The night is quiet for the Ochoa. Parked in a corner they eat tacos or play ball.

Documentary tells the story of a family that makes a living with a private ambulance. Publicity photo
Documentary tells the story of a family that makes a living with a private ambulance. Publicity photo

But everything changes with an accident warning. Then they turn on the siren and they go off with three goals: to be the first ambulance to arrive, to save the patient and that he has money to pay them.

The daily life of a family from Mexico City who makes a living with a private ambulance is the heart of Midnight Family, a documentary presented at Sundance that throws a hard look at the health system of the Mexican capital but also a tender and humorous portrait of some people as unique as the Ochoa.

"I met them in a corner parked next to the apartment where I was staying," said American Luke Lorentzen, director of the documentary.

"I was intrigued and asked if I could spend one night with them to see what their job was like, and I was amazed by this sub-world of ambulances," he added.

Given the shortage of public ambulances in Mexico City, one of the largest and most populated cities on the planet, different individuals have set up private businesses with medical vehicles to serve citizens.

Among them is the Ochoa, a family that, from little Joshua to father, Fernando, spends the night awake waiting for an emergency that gives them work. "What I like most about the cinema is to take people to places that would never otherwise go," said Lorentzen, a 20-year-old from Connecticut who visited a Mexican friend with the intention of making a documentary.

"I went with an idea, which had me exploring the city and talking to dozens of people, but the moment I met the Ochoa I threw that idea out the window," he said.