"Battleground," with Cinematography by Ivy Chiu, Picked Up by Abramorama & Roco Films
September 7, 2022

written by Addie Morfoot, Variety

Abramorama and Roco Films have co-acquired U.S. distribution rights to Cynthia Lowen’s abortion documentary “Battleground.” The film premiered in the documentary competition category at the Tribeca Festival in June. The doc follows three women in charge of anti-abortion organizations devoted to overturning Roe v. Wade.

Abramorama and Roco Films will co-release “Battleground” in hundreds of theaters across the country beginning Oct. 7 for an official Academy Award qualifying run. The film will also be simultaneously released in schools, non-profit spaces and corporate board rooms, both in-person and virtually. In addition, impact agencies Together Films and Red Owl will deliver a comprehensive national impact campaign alongside the release.

The doc is timely given the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade in June, effectively striking down the ruling that has guaranteed basic abortion rights in the U.S. since 1973.

“We are at a profound turning point in American history when people are grappling with the devastating reality of living in a post-Roe nation,” says Lowen. “Alongside Abramorama, Roco and our impact teams, I am thrilled to bring ‘Battleground’ to audiences across America to underscore just how much is at stake in the upcoming election and what the loss of abortion rights means for us all. This film and campaign is about the erosion of our democracy — and what it will take to win it back.”

While the efforts of pro-choice women determined to safeguard access to safe and legal abortions are also featured in “Battleground,” Lowen felt it necessary to focus on “anti-choice actors.”

“In 2019, I went down to Alabama and originally was filming with several pro-choice advocates in the state about the abortion ban,” Lowen told Variety in June. “But I quickly realized that to really understand what was happening at the local clinic and state level, I needed to take a step back and get this bird’s eye view of the power structures that were in play that were enabling the anti-abortion movement to be so successful, even though they represent the minority of what Americans believe and want.”

“Battleground” reveals that pro-choice advocates are not just old, white men but also savvy young women, even Democrats, who have been very strategic and organized in their pursuit to overturn Roe. With the Supreme Court’s recent anti-abortion ruling, the doc is poised to become an instruction manual for mobilizing the pro-choice movement. It follows the June HBO debut of “The Janes,” a documentary about Chicago area activists that helped women procure abortions prior to the Roe v. Wade decision.

Founded in 2000 by Annie Roney, Roco Films is a leading global documentary distribution agency with an educational division aimed at bringing films to schools, libraries, corporations and other semi- theatrical environments. This marks the first time Roco and Abramorama have co-acquired a film.

“After several years of successful collaborations, this is the first time our two companies have formally co-acquired a film so that we can create a comprehensive, holistic approach and make the greatest impact with this urgent and revelatory film,” Roney and Abramorama founder and CEO Richard Abramowitz said in a joint statement.

“Battleground” was edited by Nancy Novack (“All In: The Fight for Democracy”) and executive produced by Jeff Sobrato (“A Private War”), Dexter Braff (Emily the Criminal”), Nicole Shipley (“A Private War”)  Ryan Harrington (“The First Wave”) and Ruth Ann Harnisch (“The Hunting Ground”). Rebecca Stern served as producer on the movie and Ivy Chiu shot the film. 

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