2021 Digital Video Storytelling, Short Form winner

The Last Call


About the Project

The Last Call offers a window into the experience of a family devastated by COVID-19 in New York City, revealing how the highly infectious disease upended the ways loved ones connected — and how they said goodbye.

First her daughter spiked a fever. Then her aunt was rushed to the hospital. As illness swept through Jessica Caro’s family in the early weeks of New York’s coronavirus outbreak, she and her mother confided in and supported one another through calls and texts. Then Caro’s mom developed a cough.

The Last Call provides an exclusive and searing look at how the disease impacted one family in the Bronx, a neighborhood that had one of the highest COVID-19 rates in the nation. In the documentary short, Caro, a nurse, explains how the pandemic played out in her family, with her daughter, her aunt and her mother all becoming infected. As Caro tries to talk to her hospitalized mother via FaceTime, the virus’ lonely, vivid horror hits home.

Caro’s mother passed away on her 80th birthday, following 16 days on a ventilator. She died in the way many of the pandemic’s more than 3million victims have: alone, without friends or family near — her daughter’s voice a final consolation, if she could register it, coming through a phone held by the hand of a stranger.