Disney’s Onyx Collective and ABC News have jointly acquired Aftershock, which picked up the Sundance Film Festival’s U.S. Documentary Special Jury Award for Impact for Change upon its debut there last month. The latest from directors Paula Eiselt and Tonya Lewis Lee will stream as an original film from Onyx Collective on Hulu in the U.S., on Star+ in Latin America, and on Disney+ in all other territories.
Aftershock spotlights the alarmingly disproportionate number of Black women that are failed every year by the U.S. maternal health system. Shamony Gibson and Amber Rose Isaac were vibrant, excited mothers-to-be whose deaths due to childbirth complications were preventable. Now, their partners and families are determined to sound a rallying cry around this chilling yet largely ignored crisis.
Eiselt and Lee follow Gibson’s and Isaac’s bereaved partners, Omari Maynard and Bruce McIntyre, respectively, as they fight for justice and build communities of support, bonding especially with other surviving Black fathers. Their tragic, individual experiences are punctuated with condemning historical context, showing that gynecology has a long-standing history of exploiting and neglecting Black women in America. Aftershock brings an unsettling reality to the forefront while uplifting the families, activists, and birth workers who are striving to bring institutional change and legislative reform.
Eiselt and Lee produced the documentary, which marks Onyx’s second Sundance acquisition on the heels of Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson’s Oscar-nominated Summer of Soul. Dawn Porter, Jenny Raskin, Geralyn White Dreyfous, Patty Quillin, Jennifer and Jonathan Allan Soros, Tegan Acton, Emma Pompetti, Janet Tittiger, Davis Guggenheim and Rahdi Taylor served as its executive producers.
“Aftershock is an emotional and urgent story that demands our attention,” said Tara Duncan, president of Onyx Collective and Freeform. “Paula and Tonya have captured the resilience and will of Black families to ignite a positive impact on this national health crisis for women in America. I am proud to partner with Kim Godwin and have Onyx Collective and ABC News honor and amplify the legacies of Shamony Gibson and Amber Rose Isaac.”
“Aftershock is an essential and devastating documentary on the lived experience of pregnant Black women that immediately draws an emotional connection to the memories of the mothers who passed away,” said Goodwin, president of ABC News. “I’m incredibly proud to have ABC News Studios, together with Tara Duncan and Onyx Collective, shine a light on an epidemic affecting Black women in disproportionate numbers. The journey the family and friends take to fight a medical system that has failed them is a one many people should witness.”
“We are thrilled to partner with Disney’s Onyx Collective and ABC News to honor and uplift the lives of Shamony Gibson and Amber Rose Isaac,” added Eiselt and Lee. “We hope audiences will be as inspired and empowered as we are by their families’ trailblazing work to ensure the best birthing outcomes for all Americans.”
Cinetic Media negotiated the deal for Aftershock with Victoria Cook of Frankfurt Kurnit Klein & Selz.
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