Interview with Filmmaker Sarah Woodward (ROE v. WADE: A NATION DIVIDED)

ROE v. WADE: A NATION DIVIDED, 9min., USA, Documentary
Directed by Sarah Woodward
After an alleged leak from the supreme court revealed the potential for a long-anticipated overturn of Roe Vs. Wade, the steps of capitals throughout the country found themselves the epicenter for protests. Though the actual definition of how to define a woman has been stricken from the vocabulary of permissible debate, it didn’t stop the trans-women from coming out to declare their “Constitutional Right”.

Get to know the filmmaker:

1. What motivated you to make this film?
The Roe v Wade demonstration in Phoenix, Arizona, was the catalyst for this Project. Initially, upon deciding to attend the event, I wanted to conduct interviews to better understand perspectives from all sides of the conversation. Upon my arrival, I was taken aback by the aggressive and volatile nature of the protestors, which led me to abandon original my plans.

A significant aspect that caught my attention was the prominence of the male-to-female transgender community; even though they are not biologically capable of experiencing pregnancy, they took center stage claiming their “constitutional right.” This led me to question the representation and visibility of biological women in the discourse surrounding abortion. Naturally, this led me to more questions surrounding the topic leading to the dark side discovery of medical science and stem cell research.

This short Documentary only scratches the surface of what I found. Before this Project, I had no idea about partial, late-term, and post-birth abortions. There is so much left out of the conversation; nobody talks about the vast market for stem cells and the lucrative business of harvesting those cells from full-term living babies.

2. From the idea to the finished product, how long did it take for you to make this film?
The completion of this short Documentary required only a brief six-week period of time. However, the research and the content-gathering process were extensive, requiring me to comb through multiple search engines and navigate censorship from significant technology corporations. This experience solidified my conviction to share these stories, as they are of paramount importance and have the capacity to impact the world at large. Despite the significance, these issues are often only heard in mainstream discourse, with skewed superficial talking points that mislead the public.

3. How would you describe your film in two words?

4. What was the biggest obstacle you faced in completing this film?
The most significant challenge I encountered was during the editing process. It took an emotional toll to repeatedly view the raw footage. Certain moments were disconcerting to watch, which elicited an emotional response in me. Despite the graphic nature of the material, I consciously decided to exclude certain content from the final film to maintain discretion and respect for the subject matter. The topic at hand is multifaceted and complex. My goal was to craft a piece that would engage the audience and provoke introspection, challenging their preconceptions and encouraging them to question what they thought they knew.

5. What were your initial reactions when watching the audience talking about your film in the feedback video? As I observed the audience’s responses to the film, I couldn’t help but note a resonance with the emotions I experienced during the filmmaking process. The subject matter is compelling and can evoke overwhelming emotions. Many audience members seemed visibly affected by the content, perhaps even slightly traumatized. Yet, there was also a palpable sense of cognitive engagement, as if the gears of their minds were turning. This is a sign that the film successfully achieved its intended impact, and I hope it will inspire viewers to further explore and engage with the subject matter in question.

6. When did you realize that you wanted to make films?
I have had a passion for filmmaking since my teenage years, starting with using Teddy Rupskin and Grubby dolls as my primary characters. Although my early work may have lacked focus and direction, it was characterized by boundless creativity, an aspect that has only grown stronger with time. I have honed my craft and developed a keen eye for the art of cinematography and storytelling, which I constantly strive to elevate to spectacular new heights.

7. What film have you seen the most in your life?
As a child, The Princess Bride was ubiquitous in my household, and I have likely viewed it countless times. Despite its sentimental value, my favorite film is the existential comedy I Heart Huckabees. The film’s exploration of the human condition and its comedic elements resonates deeply with me. The “how am I, not myself” scene never fails to elicit a hearty and prolonged bout of laughter, leaving me in stitches.

8. What other elements of the festival experience can we and other festivals implement to satisfy you and help you further your filmmaking career?
The nature of the films I create often poses significant challenges regarding distribution and visibility, as censorship and suppression of dissenting voices are increasingly prevalent. I have been banned from multiple platforms and have chosen to abstain from using social media to disseminate my work, as the concept of free speech has become a relic of the past. The reality of this situation may seem far-fetched or akin to conspiracy theories, and I have grappled with self-doubt and skepticism regarding the validity of my findings. However, I firmly believe in the importance of respectful dialogue and exchanging ideas, even if they may challenge mainstream narratives and engender disagreement. Engaging in a constructive debate is crucial for personal and societal growth, and we must strive to foster such an environment to become more enlightened and empathetic individuals. I digress; want to help my filmmaking career soar like a majestic eagle? Share my films with everyone you know! (or at least with everyone you like, let’s not get crazy now)

9. You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway. How have your experiences been working on the festival platform site?
I have exclusively utilized FilmFreeWay to submit my films to various festivals. So, I don’t have a point of reference for comparison. Nonetheless, I have found the platform user-friendly and efficient in its functionality.

10. What is your favorite meal?
As a culinary enthusiast, I have a keen appreciation for gourmet cuisine. However, I cannot deny the simple yet profound satisfaction that a well-crafted meal from a taco truck can provide.

11. What is next for you?
A new film? Indeed, I am currently in the midst of a new film project. At present, I am in the process of creating a trailer for fundraising. The film delves into an underground gym culture and its transformative power on troubled young men, fostering a sense of strength and emotional intelligence. This subject matter is unique, and the film promises to be a gritty and powerful exploration of the topic, challenging the notion of toxic masculinity and emphasizing the importance of accountability and character development.


By matthewtoffolo

Filmmaker and sports fan. CEO of the WILDsound Film and Writing Festival

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