You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

‘Trapped’ Documentary to Premiere as Supreme Court Weighs Abortion Laws (EXCLUSIVE)

Trapped,” a look at how restrictive state laws are forcing abortion clinics to close in parts of the country, didn’t come to Sundance looking to score a rich distribution deal.

The makers of the non-fiction film already had a release strategy in place that would ensure that the picture will reach a wider audience just as the Supreme Court prepares to hear its first major abortion case in nearly a decade. The film will open in New York and Washington D.C. on March 4, which coincides with opening arguments in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, a case that looks at Texas state regulations that abortion rights advocates claim limit access to the procedure, and could leave the state with dramatically fewer clinics.

The film will then air on Independent Lens in June around the time the Supreme Court will make its decision on these abortion laws. Ro*co Films will be handling educational and community screenings, and Abramorama is handling theatrical bookings during the spring.

“We want the film to be seen anywhere and everywhere by as many people as want to see it,” said “Trapped” producer Marilyn Ness.

Ro*co Films believes that there is an opportunity with “Trapped” and other social advocacy films to reconfigure their distribution strategies. Following festival premieres, films that tap into hot button issues often struggle to capitalize on the buzz surrounding their debuts because they have to arrange for distribution. The fact that many distributors want an exclusive theatrical window also limits the ability of advocacy groups to host community screenings, and schools to use these types of films as educational tools.

“We’re completely committed to a theatrical experience, but the definition of a theatrical release is changing over time,” said Richard Abramowitz, president of Abramorama. “This film needs to get out there when the issue is the most visible.”

The “Trapped” producers have branded their new approach “market windowing.” It essentially compresses the film’s theatrical, grassroots, and broadcast rollouts, so that “Trapped” can play a role in the debate surrounding the higher court’s decision. Instead of waiting up to a year for to hit television like most releases do, “Trapped” will hit airwaves five months after its festival premiere.

Even at Sundance, “Trapped’s” commitment to advocacy was clear. Four abortion providers were secretly flown into the premiere to tell the audience about how they risk their health and welfare to provide access to care in states where these laws are limiting access to abortions.

The audience gave the doctors a standing ovation.

More Film

  • 'Who Will Write Our History' Review:

    Film Review: 'Who Will Write Our History'

    The most famous diarist of the Holocaust, Anne Frank, began to write down the drama of her daily life with no ulterior motive (apart from her teenage ambition to write fiction). But in March 1944, the year before she died in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, she heard a radio broadcast by a member of the [...]

  • Spider-Man: Far From Home trailer

    Film News Roundup: 'Spider-Man: Far From Home' Trailer Sets Sony Pictures Record

    In today’s film news roundup, “Spider-Man: Far From Home” sets a studio record, Chris Meledandri and Glenn Close are honored, an art-house streaming service is unveiled, and “Cliffs of Freedom” gets a release. TRAILER STATS The first “Spider-Man: Far From Home” trailer has set a record as the biggest digital launch in Sony Pictures history [...]

  • Frank Grillo Hell on the Border

    Frank Grillo to Star in the Thriller 'Hell on the Border'

    Frank Grillo is set to star in the action-thriller “Hell on the Border” with Wes Miller directing. Miller also penned the script with Curtis Nichouls, Henry Penzi, and Sasha Yelaun producing. Ron Perlman is also on board to co-star. Plot details are unknown at this time. Production is currently underway in Birmingham, Ala. Grillo has [...]

  • Lee Unkrich Variety Oscars Nominees Lunch

    'Toy Story 3,' 'Coco' Director Lee Unkrich to Exit Pixar After 25 Years

    Lee Unkrich, who won Academy Awards for “Toy Story 3” and “Coco,” is departing Pixar Animation Studios after 25 years to spend more time with his family. Unkrich joined Pixar in 1994 after working as an assistant editor in television on “Silk Stalkings” and “Renegade.” He served as editor on Pixar’s first feature, 1995’s “Toy [...]

  • Velvet Buzzsaw trailer

    Netflix Original Movies: What to Look Forward To in 2019

    Following the biggest fourth-quarter worldwide subscriber gain ever and some controversy around increased prices in the U.S., Netflix looks to keep its momentum going into 2019. From Jan. 18 through March, the streaming site will release 10 original films, including action-packed thrillers, a post-apocalyptic sci-fi, quirky comedies, inspirational dramas, an artistic horror movie and a viral [...]

  • Third 'Fantastic Beasts' Production Start Pushed

    Third 'Fantastic Beasts' Production Start Pushed Back Several Months

    Warner Bros. is pushing back the production start date of its third “Fantastic Beasts” movie several months from July to the late fall, a spokesperson said Friday. Actors have been notified about the change in dates. The untitled third “Fantastic Beasts” movie has not yet set a release date. “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find [...]

  • The Beatles Eight Days a Week

    Imagine's Documentary Arm Sets First-Look Pact With Apple (EXCLUSIVE)

    Brian Grazer and Ron Howard’s Imagine Documentaries has set a first-look pact with Apple to develop non-fiction features and series. The deal comes as Imagine is investing heavily in the premium non-fiction arena. The company in June recruited RadicalMedia veteran Justin Wilkes to head Imagine Documentaries as president. The deal suggests that Apple sees docu [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content