OVID.tv streaming service to spotlight women-directed documentaries on abortion, contraception and more

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The documentary “I Had an Abortion” gives women from a wide range of backgrounds, ages and experiences the opportunity to recount, without regret, their decision to seek an abortion. [Courtesy photo]

OVID.tv – a subscription video on demand service for streaming independent documentaries, art-house and global cinema – has revealed its August slate of 22 releases for its second annual Doc Month.

Every film in August is a documentary, all of which will be exclusively streaming on OVID, according to a news release.

The August lineup includes several documentaries directed by women, and many of these films highlight timely topics, including abortion, access to contraception and more.

“Rosita” is a distressing, vital look at the legal battle waged by a Nicaraguan family when their 9-year-old daughter becomes pregnant in a country where abortion is outlawed. The documentary “I Had an Abortion” gives women from a wide range of backgrounds, ages and experiences the opportunity to recount, without regret, their decision to seek an abortion, and in “A Man’s Place.” men get a chance to speak candidly about the role they play when a partner faces an unplanned pregnancy.

The documentary short “Margaret Sanger: A Public Nuisance” highlights Sanger’s pioneering strategies of using media and popular culture to advance the cause of birth control.

Here are details on several of the femme-centric films coming to OVID in August:

Birth control activist Margaret Sanger is considered the founder of Planned Parenthood. [Library of Congress photo]

Thursday, Aug. 4

“Choice Thoughts: Reflections on the Birth Control War”
OVID Exclusive
Directed by Jacqueline Frank, Women Make Movies, 1996 (United States)

In a witty mix of rare archival footage and sound bites from religious and political leaders, filmmaker Jacqueline Frank takes a fast-paced look at 100 years of the fight for birth control and legalized abortion. Featuring a concise overview of the work of Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger, Choice Thoughts illuminates how access to birth control became seen as a human right and how this dialogue continues around present-day issues of choice.

“Holy Terror”
OVID Exclusive
Directed by Victoria Schultz, Cinema Guild, 1986 (United States)

This documentary examines the political activism of the religious New Right, focusing on their anti-abortion efforts. Combining interviews with scenes filmed at anti-abortion conventions and demonstrations, the video provides a revealing, inside look at the movement and its philosophy as expressed by its leaders as well as its rank and file activists.

“Margaret Sanger: A Public Nuisance”
OVID Exclusive
Directed by Terese Svoboda and Steve Bull, Women Make Movies, 1992 (United States)

This documentary short highlights Sanger’s pioneering strategies of using media and popular culture to advance the cause of birth control. It tells the story of her arrest and trial, using films, vaudeville, courtroom sketches and re-enactments, video effects, and Sanger’s own words. This witty and inventive documentary looks at how Sanger effectively changed the public discussion of birth control from issues of morality to issues of women’s health and economic well-being.

“When Abortion Was Illegal”
OVID Exclusive
Directed by Dorothy Fadiman, Bullfrog Films, 1993 (United States)

The era of illegal abortion, roughly the period between the turn of the century and the Roe v. Wade decision in 1973, has been a sealed chapter in women’s history.

The profound aura of shame and fear surrounding unwanted pregnancies and abortions before Roe v. Wade kept most women from ever admitting that they had had illegal abortions. Women suffering complications from back alley or self-induced abortions risked arrest if they admitted what they had done, as did their husbands and doctors if they acknowledged compliance and aid.

The documentary short ,”When Abortion Was Illegal” illuminates this largely undocumented era and reveals the physical, emotional, and legal consequences of having an abortion when it was a criminal act.

In the documentary “A Man’s Place,” five men ranging in age from their 20s to 50s sit in a chair and talk about unexpected pregnancies: how they reacted to learning a partner was pregnant, the complex feelings that arose and the lasting effects on themselves, their partners and their relationships. [Courtesy photo]

Friday, Aug. 5

“A Man’s Place”
OVID Exclusive, Streaming Premiere
Directed by Coline Grando, Icarus Films, 2017 (France)

“I’ve always liked to be in charge. Suddenly, I wasn’t in charge at all.”

The documentary starts with an empty chair and a simple, monochromatic background. Over the next hour, five men ranging in age from their 20s to 50s sit in the chair and look into the camera — or deliberately away from it. They talk about unexpected pregnancies: how they reacted to learning a partner was pregnant, the complex feelings that arose and the lasting effects on themselves, their partners and their relationships.

“I Had an Abortion”
OVID Exclusive,
Directed by Gillian Aldrich and Jennifer Baumgardner, Women Make Movies, 2005 (United States)

Cutting across age, race, class, and religion, this film unfolds personal narratives with intimate interviews, archival footage, family photos and home movies. Arranged chronologically, the stories begin with Florence Rice, now 86, telling without regret about her abortion in the 1930s. Other women speaking out include Marion Banzhaf, who, inspired by both the Miss America protests and the Stonewall rebellion, fundraised on her campus to pay for her abortion, and Robin Ringleka-Kottke, who found herself pregnant as an 18-year-old pro-life Catholic. With heartfelt stories that are never sentimentalized, “I Had an Abortion” personalizes what has become a vicious and abstract debate.

“It Was Rape”
OVID Exclusive
Directed by Jennifer Baumgardner, Women Make Movies, 2013 (United States)

U.S. sexual assault statistics are startling — and have remained unchanged for decades. The latest White House Council on Women and Girls report reveals that nearly one in five women experiences rape or attempted rape in her lifetime. Among college student victims, who have some of the highest rates of sexual assault, just 12% report incidents to law enforcement officials. In earlier studies, 15% of sexual assault victims were younger than 13; 93% of juvenile victims knew their attacker.

“It Was Rape” gives human faces and voices to statistics, breaking through the silence, denial and victim blaming that allow an epidemic to thrive. Eight women of different backgrounds, ages and ethnicities relate personal stories of surviving sexual assault in their younger years, as well as their struggles toward healing, empowerment, and finally speaking out.

“Middle of Everywhere: The Abortion Debate from America’s Heartland”
OVID Exclusive
Directed by Rebecca Lee and Jesper Malmberg, Women Make Movies, 2008 (United States)

South Dakota is America’s heartland—waving cornfields, hard-working farmers, family values, and a population of 750,000, the majority of whom identify as conservative and anti-abortion. Native daughter Rebecca Lee returns home in 2006 on the brink of a historic state vote: House Bill 1215 could make South Dakota the first state to outlaw most abortions since Roe vs. Wade passed almost 30 years earlier. In The Middle of Everywhere, Lee discovers the debate to be complex, with both sides claiming compassion for women and the same desire to stop the need for abortion.

“Rosita”
OVID Exclusive, Streaming Premiere
Directed by Barbara Attie and Janet Goldwater, Bullfrog Films, 2005 (United States)

“Rosita,” a documentary by award-winning filmmakers Barbara Attie and Janet Goldwater, traces a young girl’s journey from an innocent victim to an unwitting victor.

When a 9-year-old Nicaraguan girl becomes pregnant as a result of a rape, her parents – illiterate campesinos working in Costa Rica – seek a legal “therapeutic” abortion to save their only child’s life. Their quest pits them against the governments of Nicaragua and Costa Rica, the medical establishment, and the Catholic Church. When their story gains international media attention, the repercussions ripple across Latin America and Europe.

A same-sex couple’s fight for equality is the focus of the documentary “To a More Perfect Union: U.S. v. Windsor.” [Courtesy photo]

Thursday, Aug. 11

“To a More Perfect Union: U.S. v. Windsor”
OVID Exclusive
Directed by Donna Zaccaro, First Run Features, Documentary, 2018 (United States)

“To a More Perfect Union” tells a story of love, marriage, and a fight for equality. The film chronicles two unlikely heroes, octogenarian Edie Windsor and her attorney, Roberta Kaplan, on their quest for justice: Edie had been forced to pay a huge estate tax bill upon the death of her spouse because the federal government denied federal benefits to same-sex couples – and Edie’s spouse was a woman. Deeply offended by this lack of recognition of her more than 40-year relationship, Edie sued the United States government – and won, making U.S. v. Windsor the pivotal case in the marriage equality movement.

Friday, Aug. 12

“Kigali Shaolin Temple”
OVID Exclusive, Streaming Premiere
Directed by Claire Mollard and Magali Chirouze, Icarus Films, 2013 (United States)

Kigali Shaolin Temple is a kung fu club in Rwanda started by a group of orphans from the genocide. They find fulfillment in passing on their skills and teaching young Rwandans the values of sharing, tolerance and mutual respect. The visual beauty of kung fu highlights the resilience of a new generation of Rwandans, 20 years after the genocide.

-BAM

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