Watch Tessa Thompson in Trailer for Drama About Abortion Rights 'South Dakota'

by Vanessa Martinez
August 25, 2011 3:27 AM
6 Comments
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Written and directed by Bruce Isacson, South Dakota deals with the unplanned pregnancy of two young women and the conflict of women's rights to choose. The film, set for release in April 6th of 2012, stars Tessa Thompson, Amanda Aday, Reid Ewing and Allen Maldonado.

Here's the About the Film, courtesy of the film's website:

SOUTH DAKOTA is a unique film in which filmmaker Bruce Isacson intricately blends the powerful drama of a scripted motion picture along with the compelling impact of documentary elements. The film portrays two dramatic stories about unplanned pregnancies along with sound bites of passionate pro choice and pro life advocates.

Barb’s story is set in a South Dakota Norman Rockwell town. Barb is a 14-year-old high school track star and cheerleader in love with her 15-year-old star athlete boyfriend when a single moment of passion changes their lives forever. Barb is a "real-life" JUNO. Chris’s story is set in Philadelphia. Chris is a black teenager who is pregnant because of rape and lives with other runaways in parks and under bridges. Both girls deny their situation for too long as they avoid making the most important choice of their young lives. As Chris and Barb seek answers to help make their decision about having a baby or terminating the pregnancy, the film presents interviews with experts on those questions with opposing views about a woman’s right to choose.

As the stories unfold on the screen under Isacson’s direction of a talented cast, he simultaneously creates a fascinating mosaic of contradictory truths about the complex issues related to a woman’s right to choose. Through fast paced clips from documentary interviews with a wide range of political, scientific, legal and cultural experts who passionately share their views, Isacson assembles sound bites like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle to accentuate the labyrinthine nature of the situation faced by each young woman. The emotional conclusion of each story leaves audiences with a profoundly new understanding of a woman’s right to choose.

Here's the trailer.

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6 Comments

  • Vanessa Martinez | August 26, 2011 4:44 AMReply

    Interesting indeed. I understand the viewpoint, I do. However, there's also a general percerption out there that black women can't be victimized (the white women are more vulnerable myth) and/or that (white) people don't care if they do. Just a thought.

  • Orville | August 26, 2011 3:57 AMReply

    Interesting comments, I do question why the young black girl is depicted as a victim of rape while the white girl has a boyfriend. Rape is indeed a very serious issue and needs to be discussed but why does Hollywood always make the black male invisible in the black woman's life?

  • Jennifer | August 26, 2011 3:45 AMReply

    Huh. I sincerely hope that they don't take the lazy route with the black girl character and make her the pro-life girl because religion. Lots of black women are pro-choice, never mind the movement for reproductive justice, and it would be refreshing to see that on screen. And yeah, did she HAVE to be the victim?

  • mf | August 25, 2011 7:41 AMReply

    i appreciate and agree with both cherish' and urbanauteur's comments. however, on the subject matter of the film itself, i am so happy that someone is tackling this subject in mainstream media (albeit independent) film. there needs to be a frank examination about the hijacking of women's issues and bodies to promote political/religious agendas. i'm looking forward to seeing how this particular film grapples with this topic. i also find the narrative/doc hybrid form interesting and want to see how it supports or takes away from the story. thanks for posting S&A!

  • urbanauteur | August 25, 2011 7:23 AMReply

    @Cherish, i concur with everything you said and add S&A allowed me to [adjust the iris] even further as far as grappling with those universal questions of inclusion(by proxy) and exclusion(by choice), it all depends on the skin one livin in.

  • Cherish | August 25, 2011 5:55 AMReply

    Looks like a good movie. But....

    It's good that there is Black girl's story is in the movie. But why is it that for the white girl's pregnancy there is a story for her and he boyfriend, figuring it out, with some family support. But for the Black girl - she was raped and alone?

    Similar to the discussion re the Help - the White female protagonists had men in their lives, with some storyline and depth (good or bad), while the Black female characters were alone, with one being abused off-screen. The only on-screen Black man was the preacher.

    Black women are always featured alone. It seems like White filmmakers always choose to portray Black female characters as abused and victims, but its more difficult to tell her story with a Black man in her life - with layers and nuance, and no abuse involve? There are black couples who struggle with abortion and actually decide together on what to do.

    Its so important who tells our stories. We have to be more involved and tell our stories on our own.

    side note - One of the reasons why I enjoy reading this blog and its commentators is it has taught me to look at movies and shows in a different light, and to pick up on nuances in the storytelling, and their value and importance in our culture. I thank Shadow and Act for this.

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