Oscar-nominated RBG directors Betsy West and Julie Cohen are to tell the extraordinary story of U.S. congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords’ remarkable perseverance following an assassination attempt.
West and Cohen are teaming once again on Gabby Giffords Won’t Back Down from CNN Films, Time Studios, Storyville Films and Lisa Erspamer Entertainment.
Giffords was the target of an assassination attempt 10 years ago, during which 13 people were wounded and six were killed, and the attempt left her with partial paralysis and the language impairment, aphasia.
Home movies taken at the hospital, and current-day cinema verité filming, show Giffords’ painstaking and miraculous recovery from a gunshot to her head, and her path to becoming one of America’s most effective advocates for gun violence prevention. The filmmakers also capture a remarkable love story. Nine years after Giffords’ husband Mark Kelly gave up his job as a NASA astronaut to support his wife’s recovery, cameras follow an exuberant Giffords on the 2020 campaign trail supporting Kelly’s successful run for the U.S. Senate for Arizona.
“Within minutes of meeting Gabby Giffords, we knew we had to make a film about this phenomenal woman,” said Cohen and West, whose other works include My Name Is Pauli Murray and Julia.
“The intelligence, humor, and toughness she brings to every personal and political challenge that comes her way makes Gabby not only an ideal documentary subject, but also a spectacular human being to spend time with.”
Amy Entelis and Courtney Sexton of CNN Films are executive producers for Gabby Giffords Won’t Back Down alongside Ian Orefice and Alexandra Johnes of TIME Studios, and Oren Jacoby of Storyville Films. Cohen and West are also producing the film under their Storyville Films banner, along with Lisa Erspamer of Lisa Erspamer Entertainment,and Sam Jinishian, of Storyville Films.
The movie is the latest collaboration between Time Studios and CNN Films, who recently teamed up for Dawn Porter’s Emmy-nominated doc John Lewis: Good Trouble.
The deal for Gabby Giffords Won’t Back Down was negotiated by Stacey Wolf, Senior Vice President of Business Affairs, and Kelly MacLanahan, Assistant General Counsel, both of CNN Worldwide, on behalf of CNN Films.
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