‘Gabby Giffords Won’t Back Down’ shows former congresswoman’s recovery after mass shooting (2022)

When filmmaker Betsy White and her directing partner Julie Cohen logged onto Zoom for their first conversation with former Arizona congresswoman Gabby Giffords, they were nervous, West says.

For one thing, Zoom? It was April 2020, only a month into the pandemic lockdown, and neither West nor Cohen were comfortable yet with the video-calling app that soon would be ubiquitous.

West and Cohen, whose previous documentary “RBG” told the story of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, also knew Giffords still struggled with her verbal communication as a result of the brain injury she’d suffered in a 2011 assassination attempt.

  • ‘Gabby Giffords Won’t Back Down’ shows former congresswoman’s recovery after mass shooting (1)

    Gabby Giffords, center, the subject of the documentary film “Gabby Giffords Won’t Back Down,” poses with the film’s co-directors Julie Cohen, left, and Betsy West, Tuesday, June 21, 2022, at the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, Calif. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)

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    Gabby Giffords, left, and Sen. Mark Kelly, D-Ariz., arrive for the world premiere of “Gabby Giffords Won’t Back Down” at the Paramount Theatre during the South by Southwest Film Festival on Saturday, March 12, 2022, in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Jack Plunkett/Invision/AP)

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    After former Arizona congresswoman Gabby Giffords was gravely injured in a 2011 mass shooting she eventually turned her attention the fight for stronger gun safety laws. She’s seen here during a speech in an image from the new documentary “Gabby Giffords Won’t Back Down.” (Photo courtesy of the filmmakers)

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    Gabby Giffords and Mark Kelly seen here in an image from the new documentary, “Gabby Giffords Won’t Back Down.” When the Arizona congresswoman was shot and gravely injured in a 2011 mass shooting she came back to launch Giffords, a gun safety advocacy group. Her husband Mark Kelly, a former NASA astronaut, was elected to the U.S. Senate from Arizona in 2020. (Photo by Dyanna Taylor)

    (Video) "Gabby Giffords Won't Back Down"
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    Former U.S. Rep. Gabby Giffords, D-Ariz., speaks on Capitol Hill in Washington in 2015 about bipartisan legislation on gun safety. Giffords journey from survivor of a mass shooting to becoming a prominent gun-safety advocate is told in the new documentary “Gabby Giffords Won’t Back Down.” (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)

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    Emergency personnel work at the scene where Rep. Gabby Giffords, D-Ariz., and others were shot outside a Safeway grocery store in Tucson, Ariz. on Jan. 8, 2011. The new documentary “Gabby Giffords Won’t Back Down” traces recovery and comeback to become a prominent advocate for better gun safety laws. (AP Photo/Matt York, File)

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    Betsy West is the co-director with Julia Cohen of the new documentary “Gabby Giffords Won’t Back Down,” the story of the former Arizona congresswoman, who after her recovery from a gunshot to the head became a prominent gun-safety advocate. (Photo by Kristin Hoebermann)

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    Julie Cohen is the co-director with Betsy West of the new documentary “Gabby Giffords Won’t Back Down,” the story of the former Arizona congresswoman, who after her recovery from a gunshot to the head became a prominent gun-safety advocate. (Photo by Kristin Hoebermann)

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    (Video) Gabby Giffords’ resilience, recovery and activism is the subject of a new documentary | Nightline

    Former congresswoman and gun violence survivor Gabby Giffords, right, speaks with Rep. Lucy McBath, D-Ga., at a Gun Violence Memorial installation on the National Mall in Washington, Tuesday, June 7, 2022. The flowers are meant to represent the number of Americans who die from gun violence each year. A similar scene is shown in the new documentary “Gabby Giffords Won’t Back Down.” (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

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    President Joe Biden awards the nation’s highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, to Gabrielle Giffords, during a ceremony in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Thursday, July 7, 2022. Giffords is a former member of the House of Representatives from Arizona, who was gravely wounded when she was shot in the head in January 2011 during a constituent event in Tucson. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

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    Former Arizona congresswoman Gabby Giffords is seen here riding her bicycle in a scene from the new documentary “Gabby Giffords Won’t Back Down.” (Photo by Dyanna Taylor)

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“We were just wondering, ‘How’s this gonna work?’” West says. “And the Zoom call was amazing.

“I mean, the first thing that Gabby did was lift up her foot to the cameras to show us she was wearing RBG socks,” West says. “And it just went from there.”

“She was so charming and really together with her husband,” she says, adding that he was not yet a senator at the time of this first talk. “So I can just say Mark Kelly as opposed to Senator Kelly.”

Kelly, a former astronaut, was also open to the idea of a documentary on what Giffords and he had experienced since the Jan. 8, 2011 mass shooting that left six dead and Giffords so gravely injured that some initial news reports said she had died, too.

Giffords, who fielded questions via email due to the language difficulties of her aphasia, said the meeting also convinced her that West and Cohen were the right people to tell her story.

“There are always concerns when you welcome strangers with cameras into your home,” she wrote. “But making this film seemed like a fitting way to share my journey with the world and bring attention to the issues that are important to me, like gun violence and aphasia.”

(Video) Gabby Giffords Won't Back Down | Official Trailer | Now Playing in Select Theatres

West says she and Cohen knew the moment they disconnected the call that they wanted to make the documentary, which arrived in theaters this month with the title of “Gabby Giffords Won’t Back Down.”

“After that call, we were texting each other: ‘We have to do a doc about this woman!’ ” West says. “She was just amazing.”

The comeback

The outlines of Giffords’ story are likely familiar. A rising star in politics at the time of the shooting, Giffords struggled to recover against long odds. Kelly, with the exception of piloting the final flight of the Space Shuttle Endeavour, was by her side throughout.

When she returned to the floor of the House of Representatives to cast a vote in August 2011, it was an emotional sensation. Since then, she’s launched the Giffords’ gun-safety advocacy organization. Kelly was elected to the U.S. Senate from Arizona in 2020.

“Gabby Giffords Won’t Back Down” includes all of that, of course, but it’s a much more intimate and personal story overall, focusing on her recovery from the gunshot injury thanks to hours of videotape Kelly recorded during Giffords recovery.

“A little bit of this footage had been seen before in some news reports and things, but I don’t think we were aware of the extent of it, and how it really charts this extraordinary comeback that Gabby made from the earliest days when she’s lying comatose in the hospital bed,” West says.

“And then she’s awake, but she can’t talk,” she says. “How the speech pathologist worked with her day after day to slowly get her to regain some of her speech is extraordinary.

“To see that over time, we thought was fascinating,” West says.

Giffords, whose team of physical, speech and occupational therapists are the unsung heroes of her recovery, says she was glad to share footage of her time with them with the filmmakers, though it wasn’t always easy to watch.

“As for moments that were difficult, I think I struggled the most with the footage that Mark filmed in the hospital,” Giffords says. “I’ve come so far, but still it’s tough to remember the early days of my recovery.”

Those scenes can be difficult, though as with much of the film, Giffords and Kelly often display a lightness and a sense of humor even in the hardest times.

“She was incredibly open and we had just enormous access,” West says. “Gabby is an exuberant, fun person to spend time with. Julie and I were singing with her a lot because she loves to sing.”

She jokes that Giffords’ love of ’80s pop hits such as Tom Petty’s “I Won’t Back Down,” which became part of the film’s title, forced them to increase the budget for song rights.

“Like she’s singing, ‘I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For’ (by U2),” West says. “How can we not license that song?

“We really just had so much fun I don’t think we were anticipating.”

The love story

The sweetest moments in the film come when Giffords and Kelly are together and their love shines brightly on the screen.

(Video) Gabby Giffords, Julie Cohen & Betsy West on ‘Gabby Giffords Won’t Back Down’ at Variety SXSW Studio

They laugh together as they show the filmmakers a plastic container that contains a piece of Giffords’ skull, removed during surgery to save her life, that’s stored in the freezer with the frozen peas and ice cream. And they’re tender in small moments throughout the film: riding bicycles together in Washington D.C., working together on Kelly’s speeches for the Senate campaign, or simply sitting side by side at home.

“I loved watching the scene with me and Mark working on his speech,” Giffords says. “It’s such a fun glimpse into our teamwork and partnership. Betsy and Julie like to call their films ‘feminist love stories,’ and I couldn’t agree more.”

Kelly, she continues, is “my rock and my best friend. He’s also the funniest person I know – no one can make me laugh like he can – and I am so lucky to have him by my side.

“His unwavering support, kindness, and courage mean the world to me,” Giffords says. “Watching our relationship on screen gave me a peek of how others might see us, and it only confirmed what I’ve known this whole time: I wouldn’t be where I am today without him.”

Those kinds of sweet moments gave West and Cohen plenty of material to balance with harder truths about the gun violence that nearly ended Giffords’ life.

“It’s a constant discussion,” West says of finding the right mix of material during the edit. “Often, we’re moving the scenes around: ‘Hey, we need a little Mark and Gabby here; we need to lighten it up. OK, now we need to introduce the tough time when Newtown happened, the shooting, and how that was such a turning point for Gabby, when she realized that she had a unique opportunity as a politician and a victim of gun violence.’”

The goal, she says, is to finish with a film that reaches viewers on many levels.

“We would just kind of move the pieces around to get the right balance,” West says. “I mean, you want to have a film that is entertaining, that is interesting. You find the balance by how you match and mix the scenes.”

The advocate

It’s a sad fact that while the film includes references and footage from mass shootings in cities such as Newtown, Connecticut, and Parkland, Florida, in recent months the names of towns such as Uvalde, Texas and Highland Park, Illinois have joined the roll call of mass shootings.

Giffords says she’s not discouraged, pointing to the 460 gun safety laws passed in the United States since the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown in 2012.

“Transformative change doesn’t happen all at once,” she says. “I know through my own recovery journey that it takes many incremental steps to reach your goals. If we gave up after every setback, there wouldn’t be any progress at all.

“When you’re surrounded by people who are fighting so hard to save lives, there’s no choice but to keep going and keep moving ahead,” Giffords says.

Earlier this month, President Joe Biden awarded Giffords with the Presidential Medal of Freedom for her work on behalf of gun safety.

“When he first called me, I was stunned,” she says. “It’s a privilege to be recognized for public service, which I have dedicated so much of my to, and I’m so grateful for it.

“But I know this honor reaches far beyond me and speaks to hard work and dedication of the gun violence prevention movement as a whole.

“Without everyone in this fight, we wouldn’t be where we are today.”

(Video) Gabby Giffords Opens Up About Recovery and Perseverance in New Documentary | The View

After the former Arizona congresswoman Giffords was shot in the head in 2011, her husband, astronaut and future U.S. Senator Mark Kelly, was by her side as she reinvented herself as an advocate for…

Gabby Giffords and Mark Kelly seen here in an image from the new documentary, “Gabby Giffords Won’t Back Down.” When the Arizona congresswoman was shot and gravely injured in a 2011 mass shooting she came back to launch Giffords, a gun safety advocacy group.. Former Arizona congresswoman Gabby Giffords is seen here riding her bicycle in a scene from the new documentary “Gabby Giffords Won’t Back Down.” (Photo by Dyanna Taylor). “So I can just say Mark Kelly as opposed to Senator Kelly.”. West says she and Cohen knew the moment they disconnected the call that they wanted to make the documentary, which arrived in theaters this month with the title of “Gabby Giffords Won’t Back Down.”. “I loved watching the scene with me and Mark working on his speech,” Giffords says.. “But I know this honor reaches far beyond me and speaks to hard work and dedication of the gun violence prevention movement as a whole.

When filmmaker Betsy White and her directing partner Julie Cohen logged onto Zoom for their first conversation with former Arizona congresswoman Gabby Giffords, they were nervous, West says.For one thing, Zoom? It was April 2020, only a month into the pandemic lockdown, and neither West nor Cohen we...

Gabby Giffords, center, the subject of the documentary film “Gabby Giffords Won’t Back Down,” poses with the film’s co-directors Julie Cohen, left, and Betsy West, Tuesday, June 21, 2022, at the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, Calif. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello). Gabby Giffords, left, and Sen. Mark Kelly, D-Ariz., arrive for the world premiere of “Gabby Giffords Won’t Back Down” at the Paramount Theatre during the South by Southwest Film Festival on Saturday, March 12, 2022, in Austin, Texas.. After former Arizona congresswoman Gabby Giffords was gravely injured in a 2011 mass shooting she eventually turned her attention the fight for stronger gun safety laws.. She’s seen here during a speech in an image from the new documentary “Gabby Giffords Won’t Back Down.” (Photo courtesy of the filmmakers). Gabby Giffords and Mark Kelly seen here in an image from the new documentary, “Gabby Giffords Won’t Back Down.” When the Arizona congresswoman was shot and gravely injured in a 2011 mass shooting she came back to launch Giffords, a gun safety advocacy group.. Giffords journey from survivor of a mass shooting to becoming a prominent gun-safety advocate is told in the new documentary “Gabby Giffords Won’t Back Down.” (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File). The new documentary “Gabby Giffords Won’t Back Down” traces recovery and comeback to become a prominent advocate for better gun safety laws.. Julie Cohen is the co-director with Betsy West of the new documentary “Gabby Giffords Won’t Back Down,” the story of the former Arizona congresswoman, who after her recovery from a gunshot to the head became a prominent gun-safety advocate.. A similar scene is shown in the new documentary “Gabby Giffords Won’t Back Down.” (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky). Former Arizona congresswoman Gabby Giffords is seen here riding her bicycle in a scene from the new documentary “Gabby Giffords Won’t Back Down.” (Photo by Dyanna Taylor). Kelly, a former astronaut, was also open to the idea of a documentary on what Giffords and he had experienced since the Jan. 8, 2011 mass shooting that left six dead and Giffords so gravely injured that some initial news reports said she had died, too.. West says she and Cohen knew the moment they disconnected the call that they wanted to make the documentary, which arrived in theaters this month with the title of “Gabby Giffords Won’t Back Down.”. “Gabby Giffords Won’t Back Down” includes all of that, of course, but it’s a much more intimate and personal story overall, focusing on her recovery from the gunshot injury thanks to hours of videotape Kelly recorded during Giffords recovery.. (Video) Gabby Giffords, Julie Cohen & Betsy West on ‘Gabby Giffords Won’t Back Down’ at Variety SXSW Studio

After the former Arizona congresswoman Giffords was shot in the head in 2011, her husband, astronaut and future U.S. Senator Mark Kelly, was by her side as she reinvented herself as an advocate for…

Gabby Giffords, center, the subject of the documentary film “Gabby Giffords Won’t Back Down,” poses with the film’s co-directors Julie Cohen, left, and Betsy West, Tuesday, June 21, 2022, at the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, Calif. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello). Gabby Giffords, left, and Sen. Mark Kelly, D-Ariz., arrive for the world premiere of “Gabby Giffords Won’t Back Down” at the Paramount Theatre during the South by Southwest Film Festival on Saturday, March 12, 2022, in Austin, Texas.. Gabby Giffords and Mark Kelly seen here in an image from the new documentary, “Gabby Giffords Won’t Back Down.” When the Arizona congresswoman was shot and gravely injured in a 2011 mass shooting she came back to launch Giffords, a gun safety advocacy group.. Giffords journey from survivor of a mass shooting to becoming a prominent gun-safety advocate is told in the new documentary “Gabby Giffords Won’t Back Down.” (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File). Former Arizona congresswoman Gabby Giffords is seen here riding her bicycle in a scene from the new documentary “Gabby Giffords Won’t Back Down.” (Photo by Dyanna Taylor)

The documentary Gabby Giffords Won’t Back Down traces the former congresswoman’s improbable recovery and activism in the wake of a devastating shooting

Gabby Giffords Won’t Back Down, a new documentary about the former congresswoman turned gun control activist, opens on the National Mall dotted with bouquets like a somber orchard – 40,000 white flowers for lives lost to gun violence in the US in 2019, 5,000 orange ones for the increase in 2020.. Gabby Giffords Won’t Back Down, directed by RBG film-makers Betsy West and Julie Cohen, is as much about America’s unrelenting and preventable epidemic of gun violence, for which Giffords is both a dauntless activist and grim statistic, as well as Giffords’s improbable recovery.. It has been 11 years since a gunman opened fire at one of her constituent meet-and-greets, killing six and leaving Giffords in critical condition with a bullet through the left hemisphere of her brain, where language function resides.. In the years since, Giffords relearned to walk, to speak and to communicate with aphasia – a condition which limits one’s ability to use or understand language, which affects over 2 million Americans ( including the actor Bruce Willis ), often as a result of strokes or brain tumors.. She returned to Congress to advocate for long overdue gun reform in the wake of Sandy Hook, which ultimately did not pass; she has traveled the country on behalf of her foundation, Giffords , working to pass gun control legislation and counter-program the NRA.. “This is a film, obviously, about an activist who is working to try and solve this horrible epidemic of gun violence in our country,” said co-director West, sitting next to Cohen and Giffords in the latter’s Tucson living room.. Most Americans are probably somewhat familiar with the day that changed Giffords’s life: on 8 January 2011, Giffords, then 40, was hosting a meet-and-greet outside a Safeway in her hometown of Tucson when Jared Loughner, a 22-year-old with a history of paranoid schizophrenia, opened fire.. A decade later, Giffords and Kelly watch, on camera, these videos from the early days of recovery with a sense of humor, able to laugh now at the randomness of “chicken”.. At one point, the film-makers interweave footage of Kelly’s docking of the Endeavor space shuttle at the International Space Station – a tricky hours-long procedure which requires manually flying two vehicles within 2in of each other – to the doctors in Houston who perfectly reconstructed and fit a prosthetic for the missing part of Giffords’s skull.. Flash forward to 2020, Giffords is in a Zoom meeting with her longtime speech therapist, Fabi Hirsch, in which the two practice, word by slow word, lines for a Kelly campaign ad: “Marriage is a commitment.” Later, after Kelly’s victory, she advises on his maiden speech in their kitchen: slow down, shoulders back, slow down.. Gabby Giffords and Mark Kelly.. “For me it has been really important to move ahead, to not look back,” Giffords said.

When filmmaker Betsy White and her directing spouse Julie Cohen logged on to Zoom for their to start with discussion with former Arizona congresswoman Gabby Giffords, they were anxious, West suggests. For one particular issue, Zoom? It was April 2020, only a month into the pandemic lockdown, and neither West nor Cohen were snug however …

Gabby Giffords, middle, the topic of the documentary movie “Gabby Giffords Won’t Back Down,” poses with the film’s co-directors Julie Cohen, still left, and Betsy West, Tuesday, June 21, 2022, at the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, Calif. (VFAB Photo/Chris Pizzello). Gabby Giffords, remaining, and Sen. Mark Kelly, D-Ariz., arrive for the environment premiere of “Gabby Giffords Won’t Back Down” at the Paramount Theatre for the duration of the South by Southwest Movie Pageant on Saturday, March 12, 2022, in Austin, Texas.. Gabby Giffords and Mark Kelly found listed here in an impression from the new documentary, “Gabby Giffords Won’t Again Down.” When the Arizona congresswoman was shot and gravely hurt in a 2011 mass taking pictures she arrived back again to start Giffords, a gun protection advocacy team.. Betsy West is the co-director with Julia Cohen of the new documentary “Gabby Giffords Will not Back Down,” the story of the previous Arizona congresswoman, who immediately after her recovery from a gunshot to the head became a distinguished gun-basic safety advocate.. Julie Cohen is the co-director with Betsy West of the new documentary “Gabby Giffords Won’t Back Down,” the tale of the former Arizona congresswoman, who right after her recovery from a gunshot to the head grew to become a distinguished gun-safety advocate.. Previous Arizona congresswoman Gabby Giffords is observed listed here using her bicycle in a scene from the new documentary “Gabby Giffords Will not Back Down.” (Photograph by Dyanna Taylor)

When filmmaker Betsy White and her directorial partner Julie Cohen logged on to Zoom for their first conversation Former Arizona Congresswoman Gabby Giffords Th

Gabby Giffords, center, subject of the documentary film “Gabby Giffords Will Back Down,” film co-directors Julie Cohen, left, and Betsy West, Tuesday, June 21, 2022, at the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, Calif. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello). Gabby Giffords, left, and Sen. Mark Kelly, D-Ariz., arrive for the world premiere of “Gabby Giffords Was Back Down” at the Paramount Theater during the South by Southwest Film Festival on Saturday, March 12, 2022. in Austin, Texas.. After former Arizona Congressman Gabby Giffords was seriously injured in the 2011 mass shooting, she finally turned her attention to the fight for stronger gun safety laws.. She is seen here during a speech in an image from the new documentary “Gabby Giffords Will Back Down.” (Photo courtesy of the filmmakers). Gabby Giffords and Mark Kelly seen here in an image from the new documentary, “Gabby Giffords Will Back Down.” When an Arizona congresswoman was shot and seriously injured in a 2011 mass shooting, she came back to launch the Giffords, a gun safety advocacy group.. The new documentary “Gabby Giffords Won’t Back Down” traces the recovery and return to become a leading advocate for better gun safety laws.. Betsy West co-directors with Julia Cohen of new documentary “Gabby Giffords Will Back Down,” the story of a former Arizona congresswoman who becomes a prominent gun-safety advocate after recovering from a gunshot to the head.. Julie Cohen is co-director with Betsy West of new documentary “Gabby Giffords Will Back Down,” the story of a former Arizona congresswoman who becomes a prominent gun-safety advocate after recovering to the head from a gunshot wound.. Former congresswoman and gun violence survivor Gabby Giffords, right, speaks with Representative Lucy McBath, D-Ga., at the Gun Violence Memorial Installation on the National Mall in Washington, Tuesday, June 7, 2022.. A similar scene is featured in the new documentary “Gabby Giffords Will Back Down.” (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky). Former Arizona Congressman Gabby Giffords is seen riding her bicycle in a scene from the new documentary “Gabby Giffords Was Back Down.” (Photo by Diana Taylor). West says she and Cohen knew the moment they disconnected the call they wanted to make the documentary, which hit theaters this month with the title “Gabby Giffords Wants Back Down.”. “Gabby Giffords Will Back Down” covers all of that, sure, but it’s a much more intimate and personal story overall, from gunshot injuries to hours of videotaped Kelly recorded during Giffords recovery.. love story The sweetest moments in the film come when Giffords and Kelly are together and their love shines through on the screen.. Those kinds of sweet moments gave West and Cohen plenty of material to balance with the hard truths about gun violence that nearly ended Gifford’s life.

'Gabby Giffords Won't Back Down' is an intimate portrait of the former congresswoman, who says she's 'so quiet now' — except as a gun safety activist.

Congresswoman Gabby Giffords.. As it happens, Giffords is a born performer and a bit of a ham, and within minutes of arriving for an interview in Los Angeles, she lets out a big smile and raises her left arm as she croons one of her favorites: “Country Roads” by John Denver.. But while the gun issue continues to roil a bitterly divided country, Giffords expresses hope that perhaps, as we’ve so often heard in the past, this time might really be different.. “This documentary is the chance for Gabby to tell her story in a way most people have never seen before.. “I remember being really moved by her connection to these families who were going through such horror,” says Erspamer, who is a producer of the new documentary.. In spring 2020, Erspamer arranged for Giffords and Kelly to meet with West and Cohen via Zoom.. “I love the film ‘RBG,’ ” Giffords says.. It didn’t take long for West and Cohen to realize how compelling a subject Giffords would be.. But West and Cohen were intent on making Giffords’ aphasia a central part of the film, using footage shot by Kelly of her early months of recovery, interviewing her surgeon and speech pathologists and filming Giffords as she worked with her speech therapist to record a campaign commercial for Kelly’s 2020 Senate run.. Co-directors, Betsy West, left and Julie Cohen, who teamed up to make the documentary, "Gabby Giffords Won't Back Down.". “Gabby would just burst into song,” says West.. “The sun will come out tomorrow,” she sings.

Gabby Giffords, the former congresswoman from Arizona who was shot and wounded in a 2011 mass shooting, urged Americans to summon resilience and strength in a powerful speech on the third night of the Democratic National Convention.

Giffords, a key voice on gun violence prevention who had been shot in the head while speaking with constituents during the deadly attack in Tucson , urged Americans to take action to end gun violence in a taped speech calling on voters to elect Biden as president.. Her remarks were the longest she has given since surviving the shooting nearly a decade ago, her spokesman Jason Phelps told CNN.. America needs all of us to speak out, even when you have to fight to find the words," Giffords said.. Giffords worked for months with her speech therapist to perfect her remarks to capture her connection with Biden, who she endorsed in March , and the importance of this moment in history, according to Phelps.. The video showed the former congresswoman playing the French horn, an instrument she played when she was a teen , highlighting just how far she has come in her recovery.. "I've known the darkest of days.. Confronted by paralysis and aphasia I've responded with grit and determination.. I put one foot in front of the other.. "My recovery is a daily fight but fighting makes me stronger.". "We are at a crossroads," Giffords said.. We can protect our families, our future.. Giffords has become a symbol in the Democratic fight for stricter gun laws.

Arizona Congresswoman Gabby Giffords' gradual recovery after a 2011 shooting is at the center of this new documentary from 'RBG' directors Julie Cohen and Betsy West.

Harrowing, sad and inspiring in equal measures, the documentary Gabby Giffords Won’t Back Down represents another solid piece of progressive [Jewish] feminist hagiography from directors Julie Cohen and Betsy West , the duo behind RBG .. Her recovery, rehabilitation and return to politics — as an advocate for gun safety and as part of Kelly’s Senate campaign — make for a documentary that wants to tell a number of stories at once.. The human brain is a confounding thing, and Giffords’ ongoing battle with aphasia and different impairments are fascinating; Cohen and West benefit from Kelly’s decision, early on, to film every part of her recovery.. There’s also intriguing specificity to watching Giffords prepare for interviews or seeing how she was able to film campaign ads for Kelly, moments of behind-the-scenes intrigue that would be at home in something like The War Room .. Then there’s the story that relates to the marriage between Giffords and Kelly, which has at times been the longest of long-distance relationships.. Kelly was literally in space during at least one of Giffords’ key brain surgeries and it’s impossible to watch Gabby Giffords Won’t Back Down without pondering the unique independence that they each had before and their newer co-dependence.. And then there’s the documentary’s advocacy, tied to Giffords, a gun owner and former registered Republican, and her too-often-thwarted attempts to push for gun reform after her shooting and after the distressing number of subsequent mass shootings.. You can hear it in President Obama’s voice, in Giffords’ fatigue, in how ideologically one-sided the talking heads are (as if it would be unfathomable for anybody with an “R” next to their name to say anything nice about Gabby Giffords at all), in how Kelly’s rival for the Senate seat still felt emboldened to smear Giffords’ foundation and Kelly’s involvement with it in their debates.. Venue: SXSW Film Festival (Documentary Spotlight). Companies: CNN Films and TIME Studios. Director: Julie Cohen & Betsy West. Producers: Lisa Erspamer, Sam Jinishian. Executive producers: Amy Entelis, Courtney Sexton, Ian Orefice, Alexandra Johnes, Oren Jacoby. Cinematographer: Dyanna Taylor. Editor: Ilya Chaiken. Composer: Miriam Cutler. 97 minutes

President Biden is hosting an event today at the White House with victims of gun violence to mark the signing of the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, and one of the participating high-profile shooting survivors who will attend is former Arizona Congressmember Gabby Giffords, who survived a 2011 assassination attempt. As mass shootings continue to plague the United States, we speak to the directors of “Gabby Giffords Won’t Back Down,” a new documentary premiering this week that follows Giffords as she fights to recover from the 2011 attack, and her subsequent advocacy for gun safety legislation. Giffords was just honored last week with the Presidential Medal of Freedom for her activism. The film follows “the fight that this woman has had to come back herself and then to come back as a public figure fighting to try to do something about the epidemic of gun violence in our country,” says Julie Cohen, co-director of “Gabby Giffords Won’t Back Down.” Former President Barack Obama, who attempted to pass gun safety legislation with Giffords’s help but failed, is featured in the documentary during a moment that qualified as “the most disappointed and the angriest he had ever been as president,” adds fellow co-director Betsy West. Cohen and West also directed “My Name Is Pauli Murray” and the Academy Award-nominated ”RBG.”

Today President Biden is hosting an event at the White House with victims of gun violence to mark the signing of the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, a new law meant to reduce gun violence.. REPORTER: Good news about Congresswoman Gabby Giffords: She was discharged today from the hospital.. GABRIELLEGIFFORDS: Too many children are dying.. I am Gabby.. AMYGOODMAN: Betsy West, if you can talk more about that moment that she opened her eyes for the first time?. BETSYWEST: Yeah, I mean, when we were filming, lots of times we were singing, as well, because Gabby would just start up with a tune.. As Gabby says, “The brain, who knew?” And I think music has not only helped Gabby get back to language, but it’s also just given her a lot of joy in her life.. AMYGOODMAN: We’re talking to Julie Cohen and Betsy West, directors of the new remarkable documentary, Gabby Giffords Won’t Back Down , opening in theaters across the country on Wednesday.. I’m Amy Goodman, as we spend the hour with Julie Cohen and Betsy West, the directors of the new documentary Gabby Giffords Won’t Back Down , opening in theaters across the country on Wednesday, which follows Gabby Giffords as she deals with aphasia following the attempted assassination in 2011 in a parking lot in Tucson when she was meeting with her constituents.. Right after the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, in May, we spoke to Robin Lloyd, the managing director of the gun violence prevention group that’s simply called Giffords, of course named for Gabby Giffords.. AMYGOODMAN: Julie, you have been following Gabby Giffords now for a few years.. PAULIMURRAY: My name is Pauli Murray.. AMYGOODMAN: That’s a part of the trailer for My Name Is Pauli Murray .

The former U.S. congresswoman from Arizona talks about 'Gabby Giffords Won't Back Down,' along with filmmakers Julie Cohen and Betsy West.

Giffords is the subject of “Gabby Giffords Won’t Back Down,” a documentary directed by Julie Cohen and Betsy West.. Gabby Giffords film documents recovery, gun debate. For two years, former congresswoman Gabby Giffords allowed a film crew to shadow her and husband Sen. Mark Kelly.. The result is “Gabby Giffords Won’t Back Down," an intimate look at Giffords’ recovery after the 2011 shooting that irrevocably changed her life.. “Only Gabby Giffords.”. And Giffords’ love of pop songs — we hear songs by U2, the Police and, of course, the Tom Petty song from which the film gets its title, among many other selections — informs a lot of the movie.. “We had no idea, really, when we came down here, the extent of Gabby’s love (of music),” West said, at which point Giffords began singing “Take Me Home, Country Roads,” as she does in the film.. “We actually had to change the music budget for our film a little bit because Gabby kept singing pop songs that are so appropriate and profound and so wonderful that we had no choice,” West said.

In the two years documentary filmmakers shadowed former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, the most jarring moment for them was in the kitchen of her Tucson, Arizona, home. As cameras were rolling, she and her husband, Sen.

In the two years documentary filmmakers shadowed former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, the most jarring moment for them was in the kitchen of her Tucson, Arizona, home.. The scene from the film is emblematic of Giffords’ openness to reflect on but not languish in the 2011 shooting that changed her life.. “For me it has been really important to move ahead, to not look back,” Giffords told The Associated Press while in Los Angeles to promote the film.. From the filmmakers behind Academy Award-nominated Ruth Bader Ginsburg documentary “RBG,” the film “Gabby Giffords Won’t Back Down” is partly an intimate look at Giffords’ recovery after the January 2011 shooting that left six people dead and 13 others wounded outside a Tucson supermarket.. Recent mass shootings including the deaths of 19 schoolchildren and two teachers in Uvalde, Texas, and 10 supermarket shoppers — all Black — in Buffalo, New York, have put gun violence back at the forefront.. Much like after Uvalde, the documentary recaps how gun control debates reached a fever pitch after 20 first graders and six educators were shot to death by a gunman at a Newtown, Connecticut, school.. Having spent time with Giffords and others impacted by gun violence, the film’s directors say their voices are central to the discourse.. “To say that somehow Gabby shouldn’t be speaking about gun violence because she’s experienced violence?. A crucial element of the documentary came from videos Kelly had of Giffords in the Tucson hospital and at a rehab facility in Houston.. These included then-President Barack Obama — who is interviewed in the film — and Michelle Obama’s visit to an unconscious Giffords’ bedside.. The filmmakers say while Giffords and Supreme Court Justice Ginsburg, who died in 2020 at age 87, are very different personalities, they think viewers will see a lot of similarities.. Giffords often has to remind people that she still has a voice even if speaking doesn’t come easily — whether it’s on gun safety or other issues.. If there’s one message she wants viewers to take from the documentary, it’s “fight, fight, fight every day,” Giffords said.

One scene from the film “Gabby Giffords Won’t Back Down” is emblematic of the former congresswoman’s openness to reflect on but not languish in the 2011 shooting that changed her life. That desire is what led her to allow cameras into her life for two years — all as a pandemic was progressing.

In the two years documentary filmmakers shadowed former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, the most jarring moment for them was in the kitchen of her Tucson, Ariz., home.. The scene from the film, “Gabby Giffords Won’t Back Down,” in theaters July 15, is emblematic of Giffords’ openness to reflect on but not languish in the 2011 shooting that changed her life.. “For me it has been really important to move ahead, to not look back,” Giffords told The Associated Press while in Los Angeles to promote the film.. From the filmmakers behind Academy Award-nominated Ruth Bader Ginsburg documentary “RBG,” “Gabby Giffords Won’t Back Down” is partly an intimate look at Giffords’ recovery after the January 2011 shooting that left six people dead and 13 others wounded outside a Tucson supermarket.. Recent mass shootings including the deaths of 19 schoolchildren and two teachers in Uvalde, Texas, and 10 supermarket shoppers — all Black — in Buffalo, New York, have put gun violence back at the forefront.. Having spent time with Giffords and others impacted by gun violence, the film’s directors say their voices are central to the discourse.. A crucial element of the documentary came from videos Kelly had of Giffords in the Tucson hospital and at a rehab facility in Houston.. These included then-President Barack Obama — who is interviewed in the film — and Michelle Obama’s visit to an unconscious Giffords’ bedside.. The filmmakers say while Giffords and Supreme Court Justice Ginsburg, who died in 2020 at age 87, are very different personalities, they think viewers will see a lot of similarities.. Giffords often has to remind people that she still has a voice even if speaking doesn’t come easily — whether it’s on gun safety or other issues.. If there’s one message she wants viewers to take from the documentary, it’s “fight, fight, fight every day,” Giffords said.

The film on the former Arizona congresswoman and her recovery from the 2011 shooting explains how she navigated gun control campaigns and later a Senate campaign.

Gabby Giffords, center, the subject of the documentary film "Gabby Giffords Won't Back Down," poses with the film's co-directors Julie Cohen, left, and Betsy West, June 21, 2022.. Gabby Giffords, center, the subject of the documentary film "Gabby Giffords Won't Back Down," poses with the film's co-directors Julie Cohen, left, and Betsy West, June 21, 2022.. Chris Pizzello/Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP. In the two years documentary filmmakers shadowed former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, the most jarring moment for them was in the kitchen of her Tucson, Arizona, home.. From the filmmakers behind Academy Award-nominated Ruth Bader Ginsburg documentary "RBG," the film "Gabby Giffords Won't Back Down" is partly an intimate look at Giffords' recovery after the January 2011 shooting that left six people dead and 13 others wounded outside a Tucson supermarket.. "It's just a fascinating story about how Gabby came back from an injury that so many people just don't even survive," said Betsy West, a co-director.. At the same time, they wanted to strike the right balance of how much to look back at the shooting.. Obviously, that's something that changed her life," said Julie Cohen, the film's other director.. We wanted it to show that achievement.". It just doesn't make any sense," Cohen said.. The filmmakers say while Giffords and Supreme Court Justice Ginsburg, who died in 2020 at age 87, are very different personalities, they think viewers will see a lot of similarities.. She plans to refocus on making tougher federal background checks a reality through her Gun Owners for Safety coalition.

Videos

1. "Gabby Giffords Won't Back Down": AZ Rep. Survives Shooting, Fights Aphasia & Pushes for Gun Laws
(Democracy Now!)
2. Gabby Giffords On Road To Recovery, Fight To Make America Safer
(TODAY)
3. Jan. 8 marks 11 years since Gabrielle Giffords was shot
(AZFamily 3TV and CBS 5 News)
4. 'Strong women get things done’: Gabby Giffords on CNN movie in theaters now detailing her recovery
(CNN)
5. Gabby Giffords Keeps Moving Forward 10 Years After Near-Fatal Shooting | TODAY All Day
(TODAY)
6. ‘Gabby Giffords Won’t Back Down’ Coming to Theaters
(AZTV7)

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