A film documenting the evolving nature of the Reproductive Rights Movement.
A film documenting the evolving nature of the Reproductive Rights Movement.
Active freedom is critical to a whole range of issues. If we can’t take charge of this most personal aspect of our lives, we can’t take care of anything. It should not be seen as a privilege or as a benefit, but a fundamental human right.” - Faye Wattleton
Citizen is a short documentary that follows the changing landscape of the reproductive rights movement and the activists adjusting to make sure everyone has a seat at the table.
Typically in this country, people hear the term reproductive rights and immediately think about a person's right to a legal, safe abortion. But abortions rights, while vital, are truly such a small piece of an ever growing political movement. Reproductive rights encompass all aspects of raising a family at the time and in the manner that a person chooses. Because we are holistic, complex individuals, this broadens the scope of reproductive rights to include issues such as immigration, education, healthcare, food accessibility, LGBTQ rights, racial injustice and so much more.
In 2013, what would later be dubbed an 'unruly mob' of citizens, shouted down the Texas State Legislature to prevent a bill that threatened half of all safe abortion clinics in the state. This same unruly mob was galvanized into action and created the Texas Reproductive Rights Rally Organization (TRRR).
Citizen follows the formation and growth of the TRRR as it addresses, represents and empowers the many facets of reproductive rights. We follow three activists, Paula Trietsch Chaney, Original organizer and media liaison, Andrea Hughes, Original organizer and president of the TRRR and Kym Whitehead, Lead organizer for the 2019 Austin Women's Rally hosted by the TRRR.
As the organizers work to put together and finalize the 2019 Austin Women's Rally, hosted by the TRRR, we get an idea of how they are adjusting to be a more inclusive and comprehensive movement. These intentions are emphasized and given depth by the personal experiences of four speakers at the rally itself. In this way, Citizen not only educates its audience through these incredible activist's stories but inspires change and action in others.
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WHY I'M MAKING THIS FILM
"The motivation for this documentary evolved naturally. As a woman who turned 26 and was removed from my parent’s healthcare in the same year the Trump administration came into office, trying to secure a reliable form of birth control was a stressful process. The anxiety and fear I and many of my friends felt over access to birth control stuck with me and became the focus of my next documentary.
I started to research different organizations in the Austin area that were putting in the work for reproductive rights. When I got in contact with the Texas Reproductive Rights Rally (TRRR) and heard their origin story of the Citizen's Filibuster, I instantly became entranced with the moments that shake people out of complacency and make them get up and act, both on a national level (such as the filibuster) and on a personal level.
In following these activists, it quickly became clear that while abortion rights is a rallying cry, their true focus is on education of the intersectional barriers people face and providing a platform for marginalized voices. Citizen honors their mission by exploring the reproductive rights movement through the personal stories of activists and speakers at the 2019 Austin Women’s Rally."
-- Leah Carlisle, Director
DEFINING REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS
Reproductive rights is defined in this film as “the ability to have and raise a family in the time and manner a person chooses”.
What this means, and what the film addresses, is that reproductive rights are more than just abortion. It’s the intersectionalities of how race, gender, sexuality, education and socioeconomic status all play into one’s access to competent and comprehensive reproductive healthcare. This also includes the availability of realistic sex and HIV education.
ABORTION'S ROLE IN THIS FILM
Although abortion is not the main point of the documentary, it does play a key role in our definition, because it provides another option for people when it comes to family planning. It is also the main topic discussed around reproductive rights and therefore deserves to be apart of the conversation.
EMPOWER & EDUCATE
Citizen aims to educate and empower society through the film and other media channels. Our media is used as a way to educate Texans about their legal rights surrounding this issue, as well as the current channels of support that are available to them. By educating society on these topics, we empower them to make informed decisions for their own bodies.
LAWS WILL CONTINUE TO RESTRICT
As we’ve seen, all too recently, legislation throughout the country is continuing to take away our rights. Citizen is alive because we understand that if we stop fighting, we will loose. This film is another form of activism against the laws that currently restrict and the future restrictions on our reproductive rights. To learn more about this issue, check out this link from amnesty.com.
Illustration by Michelle Kao
LEAH CARLISLE: Director, Editor, Executive Producer
Leah Carlisle is an up and coming documentary filmmaker. Leah got her start in film unexpectedly during graduate school where she was receiving a degree in occupational therapy. During her last semester, Leah produced and directed a 30 minute documentary on competent healthcare for the transgender community. After completing this documentary, it was clear that sharing people’s life stories in the most authentic and engaging way to create social change was a passion she had to follow through with. Years of study in occupational therapy have given Leah an edge in making personal connections and building rapport with subjects, which is so vital in providing the most truthful feel to a documentary. Leah moved to Austin, Texas where she enrolled in a documentary film class through Austin School of Film and continued her pursuit of perfecting the art of documentary filmmaking. Since then Leah has been involved in 4 documentaries and is in the process of creating her latest documentary for social change, Citizen.
MARIANA GONZALEZ: Director of Photography
Mariana Gonzalez is a freelance filmmaker and cinematographer based in Austin, TX. She is a recent graduate of the film program at UT Austin, where she further developed her knowledge of lighting, directing, and storytelling. As a queer and proud Xicana creative with a strong background in artistic and fictional realms, she is excited to take part in more non-profit and documentary work to tell the stories that need to be heard.
JODIE MILLER: Executive Producer
Jodie spent over five years working in digital marketing & advertising before getting into filmmaking and producing. Her work in marketing taught her that she loves collaborating on teams, organization, and good communication, which is why producing is a natural path for her. Since moving to Austin in the fall of 2018, she has produced three short narrative films currently in post-production; Lotus, Denied, and Spin. She is currently producing a feature-length documentary about the connection of science to inner peace, as well as short fiction coming-of-age film about friendship and reproductive rights in Texas. As a filmmaker, she wants to tell stories on the immigrant and minority experience in America, and is currently working on a short documentary exploring her own adoption from Korea into a predominantly white community.
We have many wonderful rewards including: a digital link of the film, the official Citizen music playlist, digital art, a signed poster, official merch, a skype call with the director, and exclusive art by Jessica Thomason.
“One & The Same” Series.
This series focuses on a basic reminder that you cannot separate the human body from the earth and the space that made us. Inspired by the fact that both hold a natural power that requires respect and care and cannot be ruled by the whims of politics, drama, etc.
"Universe Within" by Jessica Thomason
Official Citizen Tote Bag
TIMELINE & USE OF PROCEEDS
We have shot 95% of the film and are in post-production. While we have shot most of the film, Kickstarter is our first round of fundraising so part of the money will go towards paying crew back for their time during production. The majority of the funds will go towards post-production including: Editing, animation, and sound/music.
Our goal is to premiere the film in 2020 at a prestigious festival in the United States such as Sundance, Tribeca, SXSW, etc. After doing a round of festivals we plan to continue screenings with reproductive rights organizations around the nation. We hope that Citizen can be used as a platform to educate and inspire people in their communities.
HOW YOU CAN HELP
- Please donate. No amount is too big or small.
- Please spread the word and share this Kickstarter link with everyone you know!
- Please follow us on social media for updates on the films progress.
Risks and challenges
RISKS & CHALLENGES
Citizen is in post-production and we are fully committed to finishing the film, but that will only be possible with your help!
- (30 days)