SxSW Reaction: PAY OR DIE

ABOUT: Today, nearly 2 million Americans are being held for ransom. Without insulin, they’ll be dead in days. “Pay or Die” follows 3 families on the receiving end of these ransom notes, revealing the harrowing reality of life with chronic illness in the richest country in the world. From a mother-and-daughter struggling to rebuild their lives after losing their home when they had to spend their rent money on insulin, to a young adult diagnosed with type 1 diabetes during the COVID-19 pandemic, to a Minnesota family thrust into the national spotlight when their 26-year-old son dies from rationing his insulin, “Pay or Die” lays bare the human cost of America’s insulin affordability crisis.

JASON’S REACTION: A telling look at issues facing the healthcare system in the United States, PAY OR DIE is about people unable to afford insulin and how this is potentially ruining lives that should be able to be saved earlier. Right from an early speech from a mother after dealing with a loss, I was quite hooked right from the start. Lacking a bit of reason to be on a big screen, however, PAY OR DIE would make for a good streaming or YouTube doc release. I don’t mean this is a total knock against the movie, either, as there is a lot of love and care for this important topic, along with a Canadian connection when a mother and her daughter cross the border and visit a clinic in Vancouver, which also is really telling in how my home country is different when it comes to health care. Overall this is absolutely one to keep your eyes out for when it released, especially if you are into health documentaries.

This film and many others like it showed at South By Southwest this year from March 10-19. For more information on this and other titles, point your browser to!

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