Cutting to the Truth

Publicis Healthcare’s emotionally charged main stage presentation at Cannes Lions Health, “Cut To The Truth: Tell Stories, Change Lives,” featured Todd and Jedd Wider; Emmy, Peabody, and Academy Award winning documentary producers, who delved into the transformative power of film.

Todd, a trained reconstructive surgeon focusing on cancer surgery, and Jedd, a law partner at a prominent international firm, are social justice advocates who use filmmaking to influence public policy and laws. As professional do-gooders, the Wider brothers are uniquely equipped to discuss the power of storytelling to incite tangible change.

Healthcare lends itself seamlessly to drama, more so than any other industry. Health is the most basic, the most human of our shared experiences. There is no space as ripe for storytelling and no space as equipped to have a meaningful impact on people’s lives. The Widers were able to convey this message to the Lions Health audience by demonstrating how film techniques can surface powerful emotions, authentic and truthful accounts in a way that establishes purpose to any story.

Their 45-minute presentation included example clips from their previous films. They managed to make the audience laugh, cry, and empathize with people while sharing serious accounts of abuse, rape, and suicide. Among the lessons learned is a hard-hitting truth:

storytelling isn’t about telling a story—it’s the way in which we give a story heart.

Their newest film, currently in its infancy, “The Dr. Recognition Project,” is being developed in partnership with PHCG / Digitas Health LifeBrands. The aim is to capture and share the contribution of physicians in our society in order to reestablish the dignity of doctors who seem to be losing their voice in the healthcare system.

“There is no component in the healthcare system that is more patient-centric than the doctor,” says Alexandra von Plato, Group President, Publicis Healthcare. “In our rush to become patient-centric we may have overlooked, and further caused, the demoralization of the physician. It’s a dangerous precipice that we’re on because doctors are the point of care, that’s where healthcare is delivered and the doctor-patient relationship is paramount.”