Gabby Giffords was a rising star in the Democratic Party and many predicted she might be a frontrunner for the Oval Office someday. Everything changed during a campaign appearance at a Tucson Safeway where she and several others were shot. The bullet that hit Gabby entered the left side of her from front back resulting in partial paralyzation and the language impairment – aphasia. In total, 13 people were wounded and six were killed in the attack, including a 9-year-old girl. Jared Lee Laughner may have shot off her skull but he did not shatter her unbreakable spirit.
Directed by Betsy West and Julie Cohen, Gabby Giffords Won’t Back Down recounts the life of a vibrant young politician who ran for Congress with the intention of making some progress with the state of partisan bickering we have seen in Washington for decades.
The filmmakers eloquently and beautifully share the Arizona Congresswoman’s journey to prominence to regain her speech, her memories and how her committed partner, former astronaut now Congressman Mark Kelly was a pivotal part in her recovery mentally and spiritually. Having been granted access to hospital home movies including current-day cinema footage documenting Gifford’s painstaking recovery and emergence as one of America’s most passionate and powerful advocates for gun violence prevention.
One of the most powerful scenes in the film was watching Giffords make her way back to Congress for a gun reform vote that was critical. It was so reminiscent of witnessing the late John McCain coming to vote while battling brain cancer. Just goes to show where there’s a will there’s a way.
Cohen and West have never been ones to shy away from stories centered on strong women while illustrating how one voice, one person, one vote can make huge strides in or democracy if we are brave enough to follow through.
Gabby Giffords Won’t Back Down was acquired by Briarcliff Entertainment and opened the film nationwide July 15, with CNN Films planning to air it later in the year. This film will educate, inspire and encourage generations of young women to speak up, speak out and continue to make a difference within our democracy, our country and our world.
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Host/Producer/FilmCritic,Carla Renata is a member of such esteemed organizations as Critics Choice Association (Co-President Documentary Branch), African American Film Critics Association, Online Association of Female Film Critics and Alliance of Women Film Journalists. My op-eds or features have been seen in VARIETY, RogerEbert.com, Maltin on Movies, The Cherry Picks, IGN Movies, as well as being a frequent Guest Contributor to Fox 11-LA, Good Day LA, ET Live!, Turner Classic Movies, KCRW Press Play with Madeline Brand, The Cherry Picks, The Stream Team (Beond TV) ITV, Fox Soul's The Black Report, The ListTV and more.
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