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Synopsis: Available May 25th Only!

Early each morning Nicholas Kristof would board the No. 6 bus and ride through the hills and valleys of Yamhill, Oregon to get to his local public school. With him were some of his closest childhood friends and neighbors, people he had known all his life. But today, nearly a quarter of the kids who rode that bus with him have died. Pulitzer Prize-winning journalists Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn return to Nick’s hometown to find out what really happened? They quickly find themselves at the heart of a much bigger story about those who fall through the cracks of America, destroyed by poverty, addiction, suicide and homelessness. In this boots-on-the-ground, intensely personal journey across our country, they find inequality is killing millions of American every year. These “deaths of despair” prompt the crucial question – how do we recover as a country and lift ourselves from systemic poverty and the brutal policies that have persisted for decades in one of the richest countries on earth?

Run Time

115 minutes


Nicholas D. Kristof
Sheryl WuDunn

Directed by

Viva Van Loock

Produced by

Maro Chermayeff
Joshua Bennett

Executive Producer

Maro Chermayeff
Jeff Dupre
Joshua Bennett

Edited by

Howard Sharp
David Hoon Newman


Wolfgang Held

Director's Statement

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalists, Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn’s latest book Tightrope: Americans Reaching for Hope, is not like anything they’ve written before. It’s a deeply personal account of Nick’s hometown and his childhood friends and neighbors who have lost their lives to drugs, alcohol and accidents. And at the heart of it all is a mystery – why are people dying in such large numbers, not just here but across the country? I’ve worked on many films about privileged men with power including Steve Jobs and Donald Trump but here was the opportunity to amplify the voices of people whose stories we don’t often hear. Personal stories about ordinary people make up the heart and soul of this film. This is a film about empathy and kindness and its essential role in the recovery not just of individuals, but the country as a whole.

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