2018 Sundance Docs in Focus: RBG

Courtesy of Sundance Institute and CNN Films

Betsy West and Julie Cohen profile the legendary, outspoken US Supreme Court Justice.

Festival Section:
Documentary Premieres

Sundance Program Description:

I ask no favors for my sex. … All I ask of our brethren is that they will take their feet from off our necks.
—Sarah Moore Grimké, activist for women’s suffrage, 1837

As the United States Supreme Court leans increasingly to the right, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s vigorous dissenting opinions and ferocious 20-push-up workouts have earned this tiny, soft-spoken intellectual giant the status of rock star and the title “Notorious RBG.” What many don’t know is Ginsburg’s strategic, trailblazing role in defining gender-discrimination law. Intent on systematically releasing women from second-class status, she argued six pivotal gender-bias cases in the 1970s before an all-male Supreme Court blind to sexism.

Now 84, and still inspired by the lawyers who defended free speech during the Red Scare, Ginsburg refuses to relinquish her passionate duty, steadily fighting for equal rights for all citizens under the law. Through intimate interviews and unprecedented access to Ginsburg’s life outside the court, RBG tells the electric story of Ginsburg’s consuming love affairs with both the Constitution and her beloved husband Marty – and of a life’s work that led her to become an icon of justice in the highest court in the land.

Some Background:

  • Betsy West

    The multiple Emmy and duPont-Columbia Award-winning West has extensive experience as a producer at ABC News and CBS News, working on NIGHTLINE, 60 MINUTES, and 48 HOURS. More recent producing credits include EPIX’s THE 4%: FILM’S GENDER PROBLEM and PBS/AOL’s MAKERS: WOMEN WHO MAKE AMERICA. This is her first Sundance credit.

  • Julie Cohen

    BetterThanFiction’s Cohen also comes from a television background, having produced for DATELINE NBC before directing and producing her own documentary short and feature projects which have shown on PBS and at festivals. This also marks her Sundance debut.

Associate Producer:

  • Nadine Natour

    Natour is part of Cohen’s BetterThanFiction shingle and edited and cut the latter’s most recent documentary feature, AMERICAN VETERAN. This too marks her first film at Sundance.

Executive Producers:


Associate Editor:

  • Grace Mendenhall

    This is Mendenhall’s first Sundance project.

Why You Should Watch:
Notably working with a production crew made up of a large percentage of women, West and Cohen have developed an empowering, engaging, and often surprisingly funny portrait of a gender-equality and cultural icon.

More Info:
Sundance’s Meet the Artists

For Sundance screening dates and times, click the film title in the first paragraph.

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Filed under Documentary, Film, Film Festivals, Recommendations, Sundance

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