Our Bodies Our Doctors
June 16, 2019
Lena Sharpe Award for Persistence of Vision
Best Documentary, First Runner-Up: Golden Space Needle Audience Award
The daily lives of abortion providers, who ensure that women have access to skilled, compassionate care, is chronicled in this intimate documentary that goes behind the scenes of reproductive health centers.
Sunday, June 16, 2019
Doctors who perform abortions are referred to as "abortionists" by some, depending on your political and religious views, but if you are pro-choice, doctors believe you need to know exactly what you are supporting. "It's interesting, in a way, how invisible abortion work is given its iconic [role] in American politics," says this film's director, Portland documentarian Jan Haaken. "One way to fight stigma is to pull back the veil on some of this work so it's not so mysterious." Seen from the doctor's perspective, it's startling to consider what they are willing to endure. They have received personal death threats, with protesters standing outside their homes and on their lawns, and bomb threats against the facilities they work in. They are often worried how their work will affect their careers and their families. In the United States, one in three women have had an abortion, and these doctors remain dedicated to educating future doctors and supporting their patients' right to their own bodies despite fear. It's noble work. Our Bodies Our Doctors may induce squeamishness if watching and hearing about medical procedures churns your stomach, but it's full of heart and doesn't sugarcoat the truth of how an abortion is performed and the emotional turbulence of the human psyche.
Jan Haaken is a professor emeritus of psychology at Portland State University, clinical psychologist, and documentary filmmaker. Through her extensively published body of work, she has shown interest in the societal perspectives of those who dwell on the outskirts, from war zones and refugee camps to drag bars and hip-hop clubs.
- Director: Jan Haaken
- Principal Cast: Andrea Chiavarini, Mark Nichols, Deborah Oyers, Sarah Prager, Leo Han, Amanda Risser, Willie Parker
- Country: USA
- Year: 2019
- Running Time: 78 minutes
- Producer: David Cress
- Cinematographers: Caleb Heymann, Eric Edwards, Timothy Wildgoose
- Editors: Ben Mercer
- Music: Eric Phillips, Shelly Short
- Website: Official Film Website
- Awards: Portland International Film Festival 2019 (Audience Award for Best Documentary)
- Filmography: Kuwepo (Doc, 2016); Milk Men (Doc, 2015); Mind Zone (Doc, 2014); Guilty Except for Insanity (Doc, 2013); Queens of Heart (Doc, 2007)
- Language: English
- Format: DCP