TRAPPED PosterA new documentary from Dawn Porter (director of 2 excellent documentary features previously covered on this blog – "Gideon’s Army" and "Spies Of Mississippi") made its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, UT, last month, where it won a Special Jury Award.


Titled "Trapped," in the filmmaker’s words, here’s a summary of what the film tackles: "’Trapped’ is a new documentary I’m creating that follows the progress of Southern reproductive health clinics as they struggle to provide care in the face of an increasingly hostile legal and political climate. I take viewers to the front lines of the war on reproductive rights and show the human effects of these politically motivated and medically unnecessary laws. I examine the legal challenges, but also the personal stories of the clinics and their patients. Tackling important social issues is what fuels me as a filmmaker. My first documentary, ‘Gideon’s Army,’ told the stories of public defenders in the South who work against staggering caseloads and low pay to help defend people accused of crimes — many of whom are poor and of color. The film was nominated for an Emmy and Independent Spirit Award. In 2012, I learned that Across America, but particularly in the South, abortion clinics are in a fight for their existence. Since 2010, legislators across America vowing to make their states ‘abortion free’ have introduced hundreds of Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP) laws, which aim to rollback reproductive rights. The number of abortion clinics across the country has shrunk nearly 25% over the last five years, with 60 facilities shuttered in 2014 alone. Millions of women of reproductive age are caught in the political quagmire and are losing access to reproductive care. Many of them poor and uninsured. Their stories need to be told."

The film previously received support from a number of different stalwart organizations, like the Firelight Media Next Step Fund, MacArthur Foundation, Chicken and Egg Pictures, and others. But to complete the film, Porter took to Kickstarter, launching a crowdfunding campaign about a year ago to raise an additional $75,000 – a campaign that was successful, raising over $80,000 by its end.

Last week, Ro*Co Films, Abramorama, Film Sprout and Independent Lens sealed a deal to distribute "Trapped" this year, aiming for an opening on March 4 in Los Angeles, New York and Washington, D.C., with additional markets to be announced. Also, PBS’ Independent Lens will air "Trapped" in June, on the same date that the Supreme Court will decision on Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt – a case that will determine the constitutionality of “TRAP” laws.

Below, the filmmaker has released a trailer for her film: