Project Description

Helena Petta

Portrait of Helena Petta

FSC Associated Fellow 2022-23, Lemann Visiting Scholar at the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies

Helena Petta is a physician and filmmaker. She directed Out of Breath, which was awarded Best Documentary at the It’s All True International Documentary Film Festival (2022). The movie approaches the COVID-19 pandemic from the caregivers’ perspective, revealing the human face of a collective battle against COVID-19 in the Brazilian public health system. She also created the TV medical series Basic Unit (Unidade Básica), about health workers in primary care in Brazil. The script was awarded the best TV series script by the Brazilian Association of Screenwriters (ABRA) in 2016. She published the book Basic Unit: a Brazilian Public Health on TV by Hucitec (2020). She has a PhD in Public Health from the University of São Paulo. Helena is also a Visiting Scholar at David Rockefeller Center For Latin American Studies at Harvard University (2022/23).

FSC Works

Still from Out of Breath

Out of Breath (Brazil, 81 min)

Helena Petta and Ana Petta

Out of Breath follows Brazil’s public health workers during the Covid-19 Pandemic and shows healthcare as it intersects with religion, inequalities, and racism. The documentary sheds light on this health crisis giving a human face to our collective struggle against COVID-19 as we look for healing in a world in desperate need of care.