From its 2013 World Premier at the Sundance Film Festival and directors Martha Shane and Lana Wilson with Oscilloscope Laboratories is AFTER TILLER.
This film tells the story of several doctors who speak about their work after the assassination of Dr. George Tiller in 2009. Dr. Tiller was a physician who provided late trimester abortions for women and was killed because of it.
Left behind are Tiller’s colleagues Dr. LeRoy Carhart, Dr. Warren Hern, Dr. Susan Robinson and Dr. Shelley Sella who continue his work. Also, they are constantly being harassed by protesters and fear for their families.
Even with that these dedicated doctors in this documentary are given the opportunity to talk candidly about their friendship with Tiller and why they continue with dedication.
FINAL WORD: I was truly struck by each of the doctors that are interviewed in this documentary. In Nebraska, Dr. Carhart is an Air Force veteran who, because of laws being changed, will not be detoured and moves his clinic to Maine. The part that surprised me the most was who stood behind him and didn’t pass judgment. You will be surprised as well.
Dr. Hern is a 74-year-old physician in Boulder, Colorado who worries about the lives of his family and friends being endangered by his work. Finding that having a personal life apart from his professional one takes as much diligence as his practice, he continues to work on both.
Dr. Robinson and Dr. Sella prove, as women, to face a bigger struggle. Dr. Robinson listens to the women who come to the clinic with stories that are heartbreaking and must decide what is best for her patient. Dr. Sella wonders if its possible to find a way to consider the patient and still provide the service they need.
TUBS OF POPCORN: I give AFTER TILLER three tubs of popcorn out of five. The one thing I noticed within a short amount of time is the questions I was asking myself. Watching through the documentary I found the doctors themselves asking the same questions but being confident in their answers. That truly will make a difference in the way these dedicated professionals should be perceived.
This is a film filled with moral questions and legal issues and since the time of ROE V. WADE I don’t see it getting any easier in the future. When directors Shane and Wilson were asked what they learned from the experience of the documentary Wilson said, “I think the biggest thing I learned from the patients is that their lives are often much harder and more complicated then you can possibly imagine. You can never really know where someone else is coming from. I think my sense of compassion for those patience increased exponentially because of this.”
Shane added, “Regardless of the patient’s worldview or attitude towards abortion, the doctors’ determination to listen in a non-judgmental, empathetic, supportive way in this film was unwavering”.
In the end – they continue with courage, conviction and a legacy left AFTER TILLER.
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