After the 2016 election, filmmakers Janet Goldwater, Barbara Attie and Mike Attie mentioned they felt a way or urgency to make “Abortion Helpline, This Is Lisa,” a brief documentary about counselors working for a Philadelphia abortion hotline who attempt to assist ladies looking for to finish a being pregnant however can’t afford it.
“‘Abortion Helpline, This Is Lisa’ was conceived with a sense of urgency in the aftermath of the 2016 election,” Goldwater mentioned of the movie, a finalist for TheWrap’s ShortRecord Film Festival. “Barbara and I surveyed the bleak political scenario for an untold “story” that will shed a lightweight on the elevated struggling we feared this presidency would convey. We settled on the rising threats to reproductive rights, a subject we have now explored in quite a lot of characteristic documentaries up to now 25 years.”
Indeed, Barbara Attie and Goldwater first collaborated on “Motherless: A Legacy of Loss From Illegal Abortion,” about youngsters orphaned when their moms died after back-alley abortions earlier than Roe v. Wade, and have labored collectively since 1990.
Goldwater already had a longtime reference to the abortion helpline in Philadelphia the place she “more than as soon as heard a lady speak about selecting between meals for the kids she already had and paying for an abortion.” So she pulled in Barbara Attie, who was “immediately struck by the power of the callers’ stories.”
She enlisted her son, Mike, an award-winning documentary filmmaker, and the trio began engaged on the movie in 2017 with no funding. The movie has no voiceovers — as an alternative, the precise calls converse for themselves.
“In this case, we decided that the most direct way to highlight the issue of abortion access was to elevate the voices of individuals who have been intentionally cut off from access by a federal policy–the Hyde Amendment,” Barbara Attie defined. “So within the movie, all you hear are the callers, looking for to manage their fertility and household measurement, and the advisors–faculty college students grappling with their capability to assist ladies in want… We see this movie as a part of a a lot bigger dialogue about financial injustice and the numerous methods wherein it undermines the lives of so many in our communities.”
Goldwater says that getting permission to document these calls wasn’t an excessive amount of of an issue, as many — not all — callers knew they may doubtlessly assist others. “Working with an lawyer, we crafted a permission assertion that counselors learn to the callers assuring them that their determination whether or not to permit us to document their calls wouldn’t affect the end result of their monetary request. They had been additionally assured that their id could be confidential,” Goldwater mentioned. However, not all counselors had been fully relaxed about being filmed at work, Mike Attie mentioned, so it took a while to ascertain that consolation. That’s partially why the movie took two years to make.
Plus, all three filmmakers dwell in Philadelphia so they’d already established belief within the reproductive rights neighborhood. Instead, the crew confronted its greatest problem with reference to capturing location.
“I think the biggest hurdle we faced was the visual limitation of filming in a tiny, windowless office,” Mike Attie mentioned. “We toyed with creating scenes outdoors the workplace however ultimately, felt that it solely diminished the facility of the tales. The movie solely leaves the tense confines of the helpline workplace to point out archival footage of Congressman Henry Hyde, as he gleefully introduces the laws chopping off entry to abortion for poor ladies.”
“Abortion Helpline, This Is Lisa” was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize for Best Short Film on the 2020 Sundance Film Festival, and gained the Grand Jury Prize for Short Documentary on the 2020 AFI Docs Festival.
Watch the quick above. Viewers also can display screen the movies at any time through the competition at Shortlistfilmfestival.com and vote from Aug. 6-19.
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