"Shouting Down Midnight"
Receiving its world premiere during this year’s SXSW Film Festival, Austin-based director Gretchen Stoeltje’s documentary Shouting Down Midnight frames its examination of the Texas Legislature’s continued stripping away of access to women’s sexual and reproductive healthcare against then-State Senator Wendy Davis’s June 2013 filibuster of a highly restricted Senate abortion bill. SB5 proposed severe restrictions on abortions after 20 weeks, mandated physicians to have local hospital admitting privileges, and required clinics to certify as ambulatory surgical centers. While Davis succeeded in blocking SB5, similar anti-abortion legislation was passed during a special session in July 2013, prompting the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2016 ruling that the restrictions places an undue burden on a woman's constitutional right to an abortion. In addition to its breakdown of the filibuster, Shouting Down Midnight focuses on Wendy Davis’ political career, her rise to prominence after her 2013 filibuster of SB5, and her current work with women's issues advocacy group Deeds Not Words. The documentary offers profiles of several activists inspired by Davis’ actions, including Austin native Krithika Shamanna. It also scrutinizes the restrictions passed in 2021 by the Texas Legislature that effectively and unconstitutionally banned abortion after six weeks and established a de facto bounty system to allow Texas residents to sue clinics, doctors and any other person who aids a woman who undergoes an abortion. Shouting Down Midnight will screen during this year’s SXSW Film Festival at 11:30 a.m. Saturday, March 12 at the Rollins Theatre at The Long Center and 6 p.m. Thursday, March 17 at the AFS Cinema. Shouting Down Midnight will also be available to SXSW Film Festival registrants for a 48-hour viewing period beginning at 9 a.m. Sunday, March 13. Austin-based filmmaker Gretchen Stoeltje previously directed the 1999 documentary short Bionic Beauty Salon. She is also an Associate Research Scientist with the Texas A&M Transportation Institute’s Planning and Engagement Program.
Aired: March 8, 2022.