After Tiller
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Torontoist

After Tiller

After Tiller 5

DIRECTED BY MARTHA SHANE AND LANA WILSON (USA, Special Presentations)
4stars


SCREENINGS:

Wednesday, May 1, 9 p.m.
Isabel Bader Theatre (93 Charles Street West)

Thursday, May 2, 3 p.m.
TIFF Bell Lightbox (350 King Street West)

Sunday, May 5, 2 p.m.
TIFF Bell Lightbox (350 King Street West)


Though the nature of the abortion debate is very public, the procedure itself remains a mystery to many. Martha Shane and Lana Wilson’s After Tiller seeks to change this. Set in the wake of the assassination of Dr. George Tiller in 2009, Shane and Wilson’s documentary is inherently political. The emphasis, however, isn’t on legal battles. Instead, it’s on physicians who actually provide third-trimester abortions. This stance allows the film to position the procedure not as a politically abstracted topic, but a lived—and very important—reality.

There are only four doctors in the U.S. currently providing third-trimester abortions, which are considered controversial because fetuses that have developed for more than 24 weeks can survive outside the womb. These four men and women speak openly about the strain of facing death threats, and the personal toll of counselling women in desperate situations.

After Tiller draws back the curtain on abortion clinics with the aim of removing the fear of the unknown. This choice sets the film apart from other “issue docs,” giving a sense of urgency and concrete presence to the debate. Adding to this is the inclusion of counselling sessions with the women receiving the procedure (all anonymous). These give a voice and story to a topic that is so often reduced to a political talking point.


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