Thursday, January 21, 2010

Sundance Films: 12th & Delaware

Title: 12th & Delaware
Director: Rachel Grady, Heidi Ewing
Website: no individual site, but click here for Sundance page

Summary: On an unassuming corner in Fort Pierce, Florida, it’s easy to miss the insidious war that’s raging. But on each side of 12th and Delaware, soldiers stand locked in a passionate battle. On one side of the street sits an abortion clinic. On the other, a pro-life outfit often mistaken for the clinic it seeks to shut down (Sundance). Using skillful cinema-vérité observation that allows us to draw our own conclusions, Rachel Grady and Heidi Ewing, the directors of Jesus Camp, expose the molten core of America’s most intractable conflict. As the pro-life volunteers paint a terrifying portrait of abortion to their clients, across the street, the staff members at the clinic fear for their doctors' lives and fiercely protect the right of their clients to choose. Shot in the year when abortion provider Dr. George Tiller was murdered in his church, the film makes these fears palpable. Meanwhile, women in need become pawns in a vicious ideological war with no end in sight.

Thoughts: The abortion debate is one of the most fiercely divided issues in the United States. Because emotions run so strong, this seemingly neutral film could help attract swarms of avid viewers from both sides looking to hear more about the debate or gather verbal ammunition for their cause. Either way, Rachel Grady and Heidi Ewing will undoubtedly have a pretty good theatrical run. The major concern with this film is that while it expresses a desire to remain neutral, the two directors’ previous work (Jesus Camp) was accused by some of being less than unbiased. Will their latest film suffer the same fate?

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