Keith Hartgrove The Angry Heart
Home Overview Production Excerpts Events Reviews Contact Order



To Jay Fedigan, the documentary process is one of weaving together interviews, allowing a story to reveal itself. In the case of The Angry Heart, he brought together leading researchers and experts in the health care community who illustrated the impact of racism on physical and mental health, and how it promotes and prolongs heart disease and stroke among African-Americans.

Conducting more than 25 hours of interviews with prominent health care professionals, as well as people from the community and church, he collected personal stories of strength and weaknesses, stories of survival in a country adverse to people of color. Most important were the interviews with Keith and his mother, which gave the film its essential shape and center. Separately and together, mother and son relived Keith's long and painful ordeal as he underwent his third massive heart attack. Chronicling his own recovery against the odds, Keith gave a name and a face to the pain he had experienced.

The Angry Heart represents many hours of footage, shot over a period of three years. Editing these many hours of taped interviews with experts and researchers involved a complex and meticulous process of cutting, splicing and creating a coherent story. But Jay's decision to include actual footage simulating Keith's trip to the hospital in the middle of a massive heart attack was not planned ahead of time. As is often the case in documentary film making, the decision to shoot this dramatic footage came unexpectedly. The result is riveting.

The audience is right there in the car with Keith as he vividly relives the actual physical and mental experience of his massive third heart attack. The audience is are right there in the hospital room as he recreates the experience of rising above his body where it lies, rib cage wide open on the operating table. For Jay, the bold decision to include this material rose in a completely organic way out of the experience of assembling the documentary, thus creating an unexpectedly dramatic dimension that greatly enriches the facts and figures surrounding the issue of racism and health care.

It took hundreds of hours of editing to complete the project. During the entire time, his production company, Jay Fedigan Video, continued the ongoing process of trying to raise funds in order to support the final phases of editing and production. This documentary has been a labor of love on the part of so many people, who sacrificed in order to bring its important message to as wide an audience as possible.