Julie Cohen and Betsy West on GABBY GIFFORDS WON’T BACK DOWN – Pamela Powell interviews

In what is a very intimate portrait of an extraordinarily strong woman, Cohen and West capture former Arizona Congresswoman Gabby Gifford’s warmth and humor as well as her inspiring determination to recover from a terrorist’s gunshot wound to her head. The filmmakers chatted with Pamela Powell about making the film, getting to know Gabby Giffords and helping her to reach her goals.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK July 15, 2022: GABBY GIFFORDS WON’T BACK DOWN

In a time when “thoughts and prayers” are all that too many politicians can offer in the face of tragic mass shootings like the ones in Buffalo and Uvalde, Gabby Giffords’ tireless advocacy for smart gun control is more meaningful than ever — especially when you know that every word she says on the subject is a hard-fought victory over the lasting impact of the brain injuries she sustained when she was shot in the head in 2011.

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GABBY GIFFORDS WON’T BACK DOWN – Review by Pam Grady

Julie Cohen and Betsy West have made a resonant documentary, one the reflects its subject’s optimism, which remains firm despite everything that’s happened to her. It is also a film that champions the cause that no doubt will command her attention for the rest of Gifford’s life: the fight for sane gun laws to ratchet down the violence that infects the United States. Gabby Giffords Won’t Back Down is essential viewing.

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GABBY GIFFORDS WON’T BACK DOWN – Review by Loren King

No matter how much you think you know about Gabby Giffords, this moving film from directors Julie Cohen and Betsy West is eye-opening, urgent and revelatory. It traces how Giffords, a charismatic and impassioned moderate Arizona Congresswoman with a bright political future, was shot through the head while meeting with her constituents on a January morning in 2011. Giffords miraculously survived but eight others, including a nine year old girl, were killed in the assignation attempt. We get to witness Giffords’ determined, difficult battle to recover her speech and mobility

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GABBY GIFFORDS WON’T BACK DOWN – Review by Liz Whittemore

Julie Cohen and Betsy West have done it again. These two filmmakers shine a spotlight on extraordinary women in our history. Their latest film, Gabby Giffords Won’t Back Down, is the film we need right now, right at this exact moment. Gabby Giffords is the feminist hero little girls and women idolize in history books. When life and circumstances feel overwhelming, we remember that if Gabby can do it, so can we.

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GABBY GIFFORDS WON’T BACK DOWN – Review by Susan Wloszczyna

There couldn’t be a timelier documentary these days than Gabby Giffords Won’t Back Down. Former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, the youngest woman ever elected to the Arizona State Senate, serving first in the Arizona legislature and later in the U.S. Congress. This gutsy gal survived an assassination attempt and would become a co-founder of Giffords.org, a nonprofit organization dedicated to preventing gun violence. The doc zeroes in on her grueling healing process, with her husband — Astronaut Mark Kelly, who is currently a junior U.S. senator from Arizona – by her side. We witness as Giffords also struggles with afacisia, the loss of the ability to understand or express speech, caused by brain damage. She must also wear a special cap to protect what is left of her skull.

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GABBY GIFFORDS: WON’T BACK DOWN (SXSW 2022) – Review by Leslie Combemale

Gabby Giffords Won’t Back Down is a great addition to filmmakers Betsy West and Julie Cohen’s catalog of films on powerful, tenacious public figures, which includes RGB, My Name is Pauli Murray, and, most recently, Julia. They are clearly on a mission to amplify women of strength and authentic power, and the films’ audiences are the lucky beneficiaries.

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Betsy West and Julie Cohen on JULIA, Julia Child and Collaborating – Leslie Combemale interviews

There’s so much to recommend about Betsy West and Julie Cohen’s documentary Julia, about the history-making trailblazing cook Julia Child, that AWFJ selected it to be our Movie of the Week. What stands out beyond new footage, never-before-heard letters and never-before-seen photos is the sheer joy of the film. It really captures Julia’s love of life and food. I spoke to West and Cohen about their work as filmmakers, about Julia the film and Julia Child, the icon.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK November 12, 2021: JULIA

Documentarians Betsy West and Julie Cohen treat their subject, the inestimable Julia Child, with both respect and honesty, building a portrait of a woman who was as complex as the food she so adored. Ultimately, Julia is very much like one of Child’s beloved French recipes: a proven quantity that’s made with excellent ingredients, flavored with the right blend of spices, and assembled with care and enthusiasm. And the cooking footage will leave you drooling.

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