PERSONHOOD tells a different reproductive rights story – one that ripples far beyond the right to choose and into the lives of every pregnant person in America. Tammy Loertscher’s fetus was given an attorney, while the courts denied Tammy her constitutional rights and sent her to jail. Through her story, the film reframes the abortion debate to encompass the growing system of laws that criminalize and police pregnant women. At the intersection of the erosion of women’s rights, the war on drugs, and mass incarceration, Tammy’s experience reveals the dangerous consequences of these little-known laws for American women and families.

“If you think The Handmaid’s Tale is fiction, the chilling new independent documentary film from Jo Ardinger and producer Rosalie Miller, about the widespread detention and criminal prosecution of pregnant women in the United States, will move you to organize for a new Mayday.”

— Carrie N. Baker

“Women are beginning to recognize that what’s at stake is more than abortion, it is their personhood — their ability to be full, equal, constitutional persons in the United States of America."

Lynn Paltrow, Executive Director, National Advocates for Pregnant Women

The Team

Meet the Production Team behind Personhood

Joanne Ardinger
Joanne Ardinger
Director, Producer, Editor

Jo is a director and Telly and CINE Golden Eagle Award-winning editor and founder of Tandybrook Productions.

Her recent documentary editing credits include Imba Means Sing (Best Humanitarian Documentary, Global Film Awards, 2016), Beyond The Visible: The Story of the Very Large Array, narrated by Jodi Foster; and PBS documentaries, Into Deepest Space: The Birth of the ALMA Observatory and Papa Boss. Her other work includes the Military Channel’s Lions of Babylon: A Soldier’s Diary and Discovery’s Fantastic Festivals of the World: Hong Kong Dragon Boat Carnival. Ardinger is also a guest instructor at the University of Washington, where she teaches digital storytelling in science. 
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Rosalie Miller
Rosalie Miller
Producer

Rosalie is an award-winning filmmaker, video producer, actor, and co-founder of Wanderhouse Productions.

She produces video and narrative and documentary film. Clients include Microsoft, Amazon, Alliance for Gun Responsibility, and the Henry Art Gallery. Currently, she is producing the reproductive justice documentary, Personhood: Policing Pregnant Women in America, which premiered at DOC NYC (2019) and was nominated for a Social Justice Award at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival. The film recently won the American Bar Association Silver Gavel Award for Documentaries and a Golden Badger Award at the Wisconsin Film Festival. She is currently in post-production on her second documentary, Worth My Salt, about queer, femme performance artist, Jody Kuehner (aka Cherdonna Shinatra). The film received a 2017 GAP Award and a 4Culture Artist Award in 2016. Her documentary short debut, The Things We Keep, premiered at the 2015 Seattle International Film Festival and had its broadcast premiere on KCTS9 Reel NW. She’s a member of Women in Film Seattle, Women Make Movies, the Documentary Producers Alliance, and the Seattle Documentary Association
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Marc Pingry
Marc Pingry
Director of Photography

Marc is an award-winning cinematographer with over 35 years of experience in multiple genres and formats.

After 20 years working in Public TV and 19 local Emmys, Pingry formed is own production company in 1999. He was one of the original pioneers of HDTV in 1989 specializing in aerials that were among the first HD broadcasts in the U.S.  Marc and his partner Sigal Bujman co-produced with Discovery HD  30 episodes of Fantastic Festivals of the World. Recent productions include Papa Boss (PBS), Koxinga: A Hero’s Legacy (NatGeo), I for India (Adlabs Imagica),  History of China (CCTV), and most recently, the feature-length documentary, Vitch, which debuted at the 2017 Mill Valley Film Festival. Vitch is currently making the festival rounds.
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Stefan Hajek
Stefan Hajek
Consulting Producer

Stefan is an award-winning film producer, creative director, and co-founder of Wanderhouse Productions.

He has worked as a producer, production manager, and director on feature and short films, a television pilot, several music videos, and multiple national commercials. Highlights include the multi-award winning period drama Decimation, the poignant documentary The Things We Keep, and the experimental narrative Turning Point. He produced the 20th Century Fox released Heart of the Country  and I Am. And most recently, his narrative directorial debut, Yoga for Salvador, premiered at the Orcas Island Film Festival. 
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Leah Warshawski
Leah Warshawski
Impact Producer

Leah produces documentary-style features, television, commercials, and branded entertainment in remote parts of the world. 

Warshawski’s career in film began in Hawaii working in the marine department for LOST and HAWAII.  Her first feature film, Finding Hillywood (2013) won 6 awards including the Critic’s Award (Sebastopol Doc Festival) and the Audience Award (Napa Film Festival), and screened at more than 65 festivals around the world. Leah’s current documentary Big Sonia (2016), is about her 91-year old grandmother (and Holocaust survivor) who still drives herself to work everyday. BIG SONIA has received international press and pitch forum invitations from IFP and HotDocs, and won Best Doc & Audience Award during its premiere in Napa and DOC NYC. In addition, Leah co-founded rwandafilm.org in 2012, a “LinkedIn” for Rwandan filmmakers supported by Bpeace and The Academy of Motion Pictures.
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Clementine Briand
Clementine Briand
Associate Producer, Archival Researcher

Clementine is Co-founder of Yellow Frame Creative which focuses on developing content and campaigns for non-profits.

Currently she is working on a digital series about the racial history of America which is part of the official selection at Tribeca Film Festival 2018. She worked in Paris, France for four years at a commercial production company, working with brands such as Coca-Cola, IBM, L’Oreal, RadioShack, and McKinsey & Co. She worked across various mediums from corporate videos to television (CNN, BBC), and film. Her work took her throughout Europe and the United States, as well as in Georgia, China, Mongolia, Israel, and Libya. Clementine moved back to the United States to pursue a career in the documentary and film industry helping to deliver quality short form documentary content for the Emmy award winning organization ITVS.
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Johanna Demetrakas
Johanna Demetrakas
Story and Editorial Consultant

Johanna is a film and episodic television director residing in Los Angeles.

Her films include Out of Line, starring Jennifer Beals, award winning documentaries and the iconic feminist art films: Womanhouse, and Right Out of History. Demetrakas currently teaches cinematic arts at the University of Southern California. And you can catch her latest film, Feminists: What Were They Thinking? on Netflix.
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Nils Cowan
Nils Cowan
Story Consultant

Nils has been writing, producing and directing award-winning documentary features, short films and broadcast programming for over seventeen years.

Born and raised in Calgary, Canada, he was trained in the trenches of the dynamic documentary and factual programming industry of Washington, DC. In 2009, after working on an interpretive film for the National Park Service about Mount Rainier he moved back west and joined the diverse and growing production market of Seattle. Winner of several Emmy, Telly, and Cine Awards, Nils’ work has been seen in festivals, theaters and on networks on 6 continents. Having had the good fortune to explore difficult topics such as Drug Policy Reform, the Death Penalty, Police-Citizen Relations, he was instantly drawn to the unique story and marginalized characters of Personhood.
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Warren Etheredge
Warren Etheredge
Associate Producer

Warren Etheredge is a Storyfinder™. He has conducted over 3,500 interviews.

He is one of the founding faculty of TheFilmSchool helping filmmakers translate their stories for screens big and small, and The Red Badge Project, helping combat veterans work through PTSD and other issues by teaching them the art of storytelling. In the Fall of 2017, he launched a new 30-week screenwriting program at the University of Washington and was appointed the VP of Curation & Acquisitions for Heyou Media. He hosts The High Bar, his Emmy®-nominated television series devoted to “raising the bar,” Scene! & Heard for GreatMovieScenes.org and hosted Reel NW on KCTS. He served as the Chief Storytelling Officer for Enthrall Sports. He is the Co-founder and Curator for the Walla Walla Movie Crush, America’s most intoxicating blend of short cinema, and the founder of The Warren Report. He is a published author, staged playwright, successful producer, veteran festival programmer and much sought-after public speaker. Additionally, Warren serves on the Arts Council for the Stroum Jewish Community Center and the Advisory Board of Haptic Animation Amplifier. As a producer, his credits include Furever (d. Amy Finkel); Humor Me (d. Chris Towey), Every Beautiful Thing (d. Sonya Lea), The Lost Mariner (d. Tess Martin) and Even The Walls (d. Saman Maydani & Sarah Kuck).
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Kate Keckler Dandel
Kate Keckler Dandel
Associate Producer

Kate is an award-winning writer, producer, director, and consultant. Her feature documentary, Gold Balls, has shown in festivals throughout North America.

It was distributed by Alaska and Virgin Airlines and selected by PBS SoCal to screen nationally. The film received the Best Documentary Feature award at the 2017 Southampton International Film Festival and the Best Documentary Score Award at the 2017 Garden State Film Festival.

Kate was a recipient of the 2016 SIFF/Aegis Living $50,000 Filmmaking Grant & 2015 King County 4Culture Grant. She is currently producing the feature documentary The Invisible Father, winner of a 2016 City Artists Grant, and a short narrative musical film Sing Along If You Know the Words. Kate has served on the documentary screening team for the Portland Film Festival and is a member of the Seattle Documentary Association and Women in Film Seattle. She holds a Master’s in Public Policy from the University of Washington and an undergraduate degree from the University of Notre Dame.

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BC Campbell
BC Campbell
Composer

BC is a composer, producer, sound artist and multi-instrumentalist who works with artists from Atlantic, Barsuk and Asthmatic Kitty Records. 

He scores award winning films, most recently the feature My Country No More, which won “Best Feature” at the 2018 Big Sky Documentary Film Festival and also premiered on PBS’s Independent Lens 2019 season. His work has been presented at The Intiman Theater, On The Boards, Seattle Art Museum, The Smithsonian, as well as many national and international film festivals.
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Todd Soliday
Todd Soliday
Motion Graphics, Visual Effects Artist

Todd is a multi-Emmy award winning filmmaker with over 25 years experience in production and post. 

Todd is the gear head and true craftsman at Inflatable Film: directing, filming, editing, animating, and post-supervising feature films, short films, corporate films (Starbucks, Red-Bull Media House, Microsoft, Amazon, T-Mobile, etc), and music documentaries for major networks and corporations. His latest film, multi-award winning Big Sonia (2016), co-directed with his partner, Leah Warshawski (And one of our producers!) premiered at Doc NYC and won “Best Documentary” and the “Audience Award” at the Napa Valley Film Festival. Other documentary feature projects include Out of Luck (2016), The Breach (2015), Finding Hillywood (2013), Platinum: The Mt. Baker Legendary Banked Slalom (2007) and Voyage: Alone Across The Atlantic (2006 series and pilot). 
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Leah Trangen
Leah Trangen
Assistant Archival Researcher

Leah graduated from the University of Washington in 2015, where her undergraduate work was focused on anthropology, development studies and Latin American studies.

Documentary film combines her passions for telling human stories and for film. She has worked as an associate producer at Marc Pingry Productions since the fall of 2015. 
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Rhenda Meiser
Rhenda Meiser
Adviser/Publicist

Rhenda is communications director for Seattle’s Social Justice Film Festival and president of Meiser Communications.

 She promoted the United States premiere of the feature film Tula The Revolt, starring Danny Glover, plus festival screenings with activists Sister Helen Prejean and José Antonio Vargas. Meiser helps filmmakers and social-impact groups connect with their communities and the media—revealing their human stories and serving the public’s interest.
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Marcy Bloom
Marcy Bloom
Adviser

Marcy Bloom is a recipient of the 2006 William O. Douglas Award, the ACLU of Washington’s highest honor.

 A courageous advocate for civil liberties, she has long been a leader in safeguarding the fundamental right to reproductive freedom. Bloom served for 18 years as the executive director and guiding force of the Aradia Women’s Health Center, Seattle’s first nonprofit abortion and gynecological health center, and a model for clinics nationwide. She currently works for GIRE – El Grupo de Informacion en Reproduccion Elegida/The Information Group on Reproductive Choice. GIRE seeks to decriminalize and destigmatize abortion and works toward the expansion of reproductive justice and respectful, safe reproductive health services for all women of Latin America.
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“I felt like my baby had more rights than I did. Like I was just an animal."

Tamara Loertscher

Screenings

Festival Screening Schedule

DUE TO COVID-19 OUR SCREENINGS WILL BE HELD VIRTUALLY

IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN HOSTING A SCREENING, PLEASE EMAIL US AT INFO@PERSONHOODMOVIE.COM
FOR DIGITAL AND DVD LICENSING, PLEASE VISIT COLLECTIVE EYE


ROCKY MOUNTAIN WOMEN’S FILM FESTIVAL
NOVEMBER 13-21 | SCREENING NOV 21 ONLY

TWIN CITIES FILM FEST
OCTOBER 22-31 | GEO-RESTRICTED TO MINNESOTA & WISCONSIN

MILWAUKEE FILM FESTIVAL
OCTOBER 15-29 | GEO-RESTRICTED TO WISCONSIN
LIVE FILMMAKER Q&A OCT 25 @ 6:00 PM PT/8:00PM CT

BENDFILM FESTIVAL
OCTOBER 8-25 | 2-DAY VIEWING PERIOD
FILMMAKER Q&A AVAILABLE OCT 15-25

SOCIAL JUSTICE FILM FESTIVAL
SEATTLE (VIRTUAL) PREMIERE
OCTOBER 1-11
LIVE FILMMAKER Q&A & PANEL OCT 2 @ 7:00 PM PT/10:00PM ET

AMERICAN DOCUMENTARY AND FILM FESTIVAL
PALM SPRINGS PREMIERE
SEPTEMBER 25-29 | GEO-RESTRICTED TO CALIFORNIA

BENTONVILLE FILM FESTIVAL
SOUTHERN REGION (VIRTUAL) PREMIERE
AUGUST 10-16 | 24-HR VIEWING PERIOD
LIVE FILMMAKER Q&A AUG 15 @ 4:00 PM PT/6:00PM CT

rePRO FEST BY MAMA.FILM
TICKETS AVAILABLE NOW!
AUGUST 12-16 | 24-HR VIEWING PERIOD
CALL-TO-ACTION CONVERSATION – POLICING PREGNANCY AUG 14 @ 5:00PM PT/8:00PM ET

NEVERTHELESS FILM FESTIVAL
MICHIGAN (VIRTUAL) PREMIERE
JULY 9-12 | 9AM – 11:59PM EST

MOUNTAINFILM
COLORADO (VIRTUAL) PREMIERE
MAY 18, MAY 20, MAY 22 | 9AM – 11:59PM MST

CLEVELAND INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL CIFF44 STREAMS
OHIO (VIRTUAL) PREMIERE
APRIL 15 – APRIL 28  2020

SEBASTOPOL DOCUMENTARY FILM FESTIVAL — POSTPONED

ATHENA FILM FESTIVAL
MAR 01 2020 | 3:00PM EST BARNARD COLLEGE

BIG SKY DOCUMENTARY FILM FESTIVAL
NORTHWEST PREMIERE
FEB 16 2020 | 7:30PM MST THE ROXY THEATER
FEB 18 2020 | 9:00PM MST  ZOOTOWN ARTS COMMUNITY CENTER

SANTA BARBARA INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL
WEST COAST PREMIERE
JAN 16 2020 | 2PM PST METRO 4 THEATRE
JAN 17 2020 | 5PM PST  METRO 4 THEATRE

DOC NYC
WORLD PREMIERE
NOV 8 2019 | DOC NYC WORLD PREMIERE

COMMUNITY OUTREACH — COMING SOON!

"We really see 'personhood' and feticide laws as a tax on women of color. We already know that low-income women and women of color are disproportionately represented in the criminal justice system..."

Cristina Aguilar, Fmr. Exec Director, Colorado Organization for Latina Reproductive Rights & Opportunity

PRESS

Top 10 Docs from DOC NYC 2019
Christopher Reed, Film Festival Today

Deadline | Bentonville Film Festival Sets Lineup For Hybrid In-Person/Online Event; ‘Misbehaviour’, ‘Parkland Rising’ Among Spotlight Titles
Hollywood Reporter | Inaugural rePRO Film Fest to Open With ‘Belly of the Beast’ Doc (Exclusive)
Seattle Times | “In Personhood,” Seattle filmmakers document the human cost of giving legal rights to embryos
Jurist | PERSONHOOD: A Story of Reproductive Rights and Pregnancy Policing
Lilith Magazine | When a Fetus Gets Legal Rights, Guess Who Suffers?
Missoulian | Film reframes abortion debate through lens of ‘personhood’ laws
The Nation | Fetal Personhood Is Maternal Punishment
Ms. Magazine | “Personhood” Zooms in on the Chilling Consequences of Anti-Abortion Laws
GirlTalkHQ | Jo Ardinger’s PERSONHOOD Film Exposes The Danger Behind The Movement To Strip Pregnant People Of Their Rights
Rewire |‘Personhood’ Film Shows the Cost of the Push for Fetal Rights
Women and Hollywood | DOC NYC 2019 Women Directors: Meet Jo Ardinger – Personhood
Women You Should Know | Eye-Opening Film Spotlights Criminalization of Pregnant Women Via Dangerous, Little-Known Laws

“If you think The Handmaid’s Tale is fiction, the chilling new independent documentary film from Jo Ardinger and producer Rosalie Miller, about the widespread detention and criminal prosecution of pregnant women in the United States, will move you to organize for a new Mayday.”
~ Carrie N. Baker, Ms. Magazine

“In addition to exposing how fetal ‘personhood’—or the anti-abortion idea of legal protection for fetuses—immediately threatens the lives and well-being of pregnant people, the documentary film covers important issues concerning what the future could hold if state and federal policy continues in this trajectory. Personhood serves as a reminder that more organizing and political activism are needed to meet the challenges ahead.”
~ Elizabeth Gay, Rewire

“Although the ‘personhood’ movement has enjoyed momentum away from the spotlight for quite some time, that is coming to an end with the release of a searing and insightful new documentary from director Jo Ardinger, that exposes just how awful these fetal personhood laws actually are.”
~ Asha Dahya, GirlTalkHQ

“One of the most important films at DOC NYC. A must see.”
~ Steve Kopla, Unseen Films

“Director Jo Ardinger provides a comprehensive look at a complex issue with consequences far beyond the horrific legal saga of Loertscher… The film is full of insightful interviews with proponents of the amendments… as well as issues that highlight the science, advocacy, and various strategies employed at multiple levels.”
~ John Fink, The Film Stage

“Shot and edited with an urgent mission to shed light on the very real dangers of our present, Personhood is always compelling.”
~ Christopher Reed, Hammer to Nail

“Personhood effectively uses statistics, personal stories, and even suspense to inform and move us, both emotionally and to action… Eye-opening.”
~ Wendy Moscow, Unpaid Film Critic

Resources

"At some point, we're going to have to respect the woman. Because at some point, we're going to realize that without her, we're not going to be able to survive."

Cherisse Scott, Founder & CEO, SisterReach

“One of the things that's very clever about the movement for fetal rights, is the co-optation of the word 'person'."

Sara Ainsworth, Lawyer, Fmr. Director of Legal Advocacy, National Advocates for Pregnant Women

Supporters

Supporters and Sponsors of Personhood

Supporters of Personhood

Wall of Gratitude

RESISTERS


Jeff Berg
Beth Burnett
Sven Cowan
Angi Ford
Robert Hayek
John Helde
Jeremy Horowitz
Clara Ladd
Lisa Every
Gino Pesi
John Miller
Victoria Lawson
Kim Lawrence
Joy Wolf
Nancy & Mark Haley
Francois Briand
Karen Cardozo
Catherine Raphael
Kathryn Van Wagenen
Topo Swope
Suzanne Poppema
Danielle Bernstein

WARRIOR


Peter Adkison
Bill Ardinger
Janet Stanley
Dee Fenton
Leah Warshawski
Ann Darling
Joshua Milliken
Vivian Hurwitz
Holly Dannunzio

INFLUENCER


Rhenda Meiser
Susan & Jim Milliken
James Milliken
Pam Andrew
Elaine Nonneman
Mary Pascoe
P Dee Boersma

LEGACY


Kate Dandel
Eliza Flug

“In the public policy wars, one side is driven by a moral vision that says we have to save all the embryos and fetuses. The other side is driven by a moral vision that says we have to protect the rights of women.”

Dr. Arthur Caplan, Ph.D , Professor, NYU Langone Medical Center

Contact

CONNECT WITH THE PERSONHOOD PRODUCTION TEAM

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For PERSONHOOD Seattle-based PRESS-RELATED inquiries, please contact Rhenda Meiser with Meiser Communications at rhenda@rhendameiser.com.