Disney’s Onyx Collective and ABC News have announced a joint acquisition of the award-winning documentary “Aftershock,” following its debut as an official selection of the U.S. Documentary Competition at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival. The feature won the U.S. Documentary Special Jury Award for Impact for Change.
The documentary will stream as an original film from Onyx Collective on Hulu in the U.S., Star+ in Latin America, and Disney+ in all other territories.
An alarmingly disproportionate number of Black women are failed every year by the U.S. maternal health system. Shamony Gibson and Amber Rose Isaac were vibrant, excited mothers-to-be whose deaths due to childbirth complications were preventable. Now, their partners and families are determined to sound a rallying cry around this chilling yet largely ignored crisis.
Directors Paula Eiselt and Tonya Lewis Lee follow Gibson’s and Isaac’s bereaved partners, Omari Maynard and Bruce McIntyre, as they fight for justice and build communities of support, bonding especially with other surviving Black fathers. Their tragic, individual experiences are punctuated with condemning historical context, showing that gynecology has a long-standing history of exploiting and neglecting Black women in America. In the arresting words of mother-to-be Felicia Ellis, “A Black woman having a baby is like a Black man at a traffic stop with the police.” She emphasizes that paying attention is paramount. “Aftershock” brings an unsettling reality to the forefront while uplifting the families, activists and birth workers who are striving to bring institutional change and legislative reform. These mothers will not be forgotten.
Tara Duncan, president of Onyx Collective and Freeform said in a statement:
“‘Aftershock’ is an emotional and urgent story that demands our attention. Paula and Tonya have captured the resilience and will of Black families to ignite a positive impact on this national health crisis for women in America. I am proud to partner with Kim Godwin and have Onyx Collective and ABC News honor and amplify the legacies of Shamony Gibson and Amber Rose Isaac.”
Kim Godwin, president of ABC News added:
“‘Aftershock’ is an essential and devastating documentary on the lived experience of pregnant Black women that immediately draws an emotional connection to the memories of the mothers who passed away. I’m incredibly proud to have ABC News Studios, together with Tara Duncan and Onyx Collective, shine a light on an epidemic affecting Black women in disproportionate numbers. The journey the family and friends take to fight a medical system that has failed them is one many people should witness.”
Paula Eiselt and Tonya Lewis Lee, directors and producers also added:
“We are thrilled to partner with Disney’s Onyx Collective and ABC News to honor and uplift the lives of Shamony Gibson and Amber Rose Isaac. We hope audiences will be as inspired and empowered as we are by their families’ trailblazing work to ensure the best birthing outcomes for all Americans.”
Are you looking forward to watching “Aftershock”?