Is Emergency Based on a True Story?

Image Credit: Quantrell Colbert/ Amazon Studios

‘Emergency’ is a satirical comedy film that follows the trio of Sean, Kunle, and Carlos, college students, who discover an unconscious young girl in their house. As a result, they must weigh the pros and cons of alerting the police while getting the girl to safety without drawing any suspicion. It is directed by Carey Williams from a screenplay written by KD Dávila.

Through a series of comical events, the film unfolds a nuanced and layered representation of trauma and morality that the young men of color experience because of the situation they find themselves in. Given the film’s emotionally grounded narrative, viewers must be wondering whether it draws inspiration from any real events or true stories. If you are wondering the same, here is everything we have gathered about the inspiration behind ‘Emergency.’

Is Emergency a True Story?

‘Emergency’ is not based on a true story. The film is based on the short film of the same name on which Carey Williams and KD Dávila collaborated as director and writer, respectively. The short film was released in 2017 and received critical acclaim. It won the Special Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival and the Best Narrative Short Award at SXSW in 2018. While attending the SXSW, Williams announced that he and Dávila would be developing a feature film based on the short film following a rousing response at the film festival. While the original short film ends with the trio of friends finding the unconscious girl, the feature film uses the scene as its inciting incident and takes the story forward.

In an interview, director Carey Williams revealed that while expanding the short film into a feature film, he was excited to further the relationship between Kunle and Sean. He wanted to explore their different worldviews and the nuances and complexities of their friendship. Furthermore, he wanted to explore the impact of an incident on which they have different opinions that would affect their relationship.

On the other hand, screenwriter KD Dávila stated that while writing the feature film adaptation of the short film, she decided to tackle it as a social issue story with a focus on the impact of colorism in our society. Dávila explained that as a Mexican-American who grew up in Los Angeles, she had firsthand experience of colorism affecting her family members.

Furthermore, the screenwriter drew from the personal experiences of Williams, who is an African-American. She consulted with Williams for story and scene ideas and mixed them with the director’s real-life experiences. Williams also revealed that the film deals with racial bias and how black men constantly feel the need to protect themselves. The same is represented in the story through Kunle and Sean, and the narrative highlights the effect racial bias has on the mental health of young black men in America.

Ultimately, ‘Emergency’ is a fictional story derived from the real-life experiences of its creators. It is imbued in the real-world conflicts faced by black men on almost a daily basis. Moreover, it is a story of friendship and the complicated aspects of the emotional bond shared by friends with vastly different upbringing and worldviews. The film’s emotionally resonant narrative allows the viewers to connect with the characters while the absurdity of their situation entertains them. Thus, ‘Emergency’ grounds itself in reality despite telling a fictional narrative.

Read More: Where Was Emergency Filmed?