Continuing my look at this year’s Sundance doc features: TRAPPED, Dawn Porter’s investigation of the war against reproductive health clinics.
US Documentary Competition
Sundance Program Description:
From 2011 to 2013, hundreds of regulations were passed restricting access to abortion in America. Reproductive rights advocates refer to these as “TRAP” laws, or Targeted Regulations of Abortion Providers. TRAP laws have swept across the country, especially the South, where most clinics are in a desperate battle for survival.
In the trenches of this war on women’s rights are the doctors, clinic owners, and resolute staff who refuse to give up. TRAPPED interweaves the personal stories of a fearless physician who crisscrosses the country assuring that medical services are available, the stalwart women and men who run the clinics, the lawyers leading the charge to eradicate these laws, and ultimately to the women they are all determined to help. Filmmaker Dawn Porter has crafted a powerful and comprehensive battle cry. TRAPPED puts the viewer on the front lines alongside a staunch cadre of warriors committed to preserving abortion rights in a country maintaining the mistaken belief that Roe v Wade still fully protects a woman’s right to choose.
Director: Dawn Porter
This project marks attorney-turned-documentarian Porter’s return to Park City following her US Documentary Editing Award-winning debut, GIDEON’S ARMY (2013).
Producer: Marilyn Ness, Co-Producer: Summer Damon, Associate Producers: Amanda Goscinski and Dana Kalmey
Big Mouth Productions’ Ness is also the producer of fellow 2016 Sundance title CAMERAPERSON. The Emmy, DuPont, and Peabody Award-winning producer previously produced US Documentary Cinematography Award-winning alum E-TEAM (2014).
Co-Producer Damon served in the same role for GIDEON’S ARMY and for Porter’s second doc, SPIES OF MISSISSIPPI.
Executive Producer: Cindy Meehl
This project also marks executive producer Meehl’s return to Sundance following her directorial debut, the US Documentary Audience Award winner BUCK (2011), which went on to be shortlisted for the Academy Awards.
Editor: Sari Gilman; Co-Editor: Katie Flint; Associate Editor: Matt Cowan
Gilman’s past Sundance credits include doc features GHOSTS OF ABU GHRAIB (2007), WHAT REMAINS (2006), and BLUE VINYL (2002), as well as the short doc THE FENCE (2010). Co-editor Flint was an assistant editor on past Sundance titles THE BETRAYAL: NERAKHOON (2008)
and THE WORLD ACCORDING TO SESAME STREET (2006).
Why You Should Watch:
Doubling as an urgent call to action and a compelling portrait of dedication, Porter’s timely film continues in the vein of her earlier GIDEON’S ARMY. She has identified appealing, driven subjects who find themselves hamstrung by disruptive, draconian legislation that strips control and choice, circumventing a Supreme Court-mandated right, and leading desperate women to turn to illegal, and dangerous, alternatives to these embattled clinics if left with no other recourse.
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