What is the film about, and what drew you to it?
12th & Delaware takes place on a single corner in Florida, the corner of 12th and Delaware. And on one side of the street is an abortion clinic, and on the other side of the street is a pro-life pregnancy clinic. And Heidi and I spent a year on this corner filming what was going on. The film captures the moment of decision of a woman who's deciding whether to have an abortion, or to continue with her pregnancy, and the forces on either side of the street of 12th & Delaware that are exerting influence over that decision. We thought that was a very intense and important moment to capture in a woman's life, and it could be captured through these two centers.
How were you able to gain such full access to the clinic you shot at?
I think for the pro-life clinic, they believed that this kind of press could help their cause, that when you actually look deeply at a woman who's making the choice between an abortion and keeping the pregnancy that things are a lot murkier than one suspects. And I think that they wanted to use this film as a way to get their message out.
One of the interesting things about the film is that it remains unbiased throughout. Was that intentional?
We try to be as unbiased as possible. Our goal is to make observational films, and to let the audience make up their own minds. Of course, we're human beings and we do come to the table with our own experiences and opinions. But we try and hold our point of view back as much as possible. That way the audience will have to look within themselves and ask themselves questions.
Also, when you look at the abortion debate in this country, it's so loud and divisive and polarized. It's really hard to get a nuanced conversation about abortion. So we tried to avoid the pitfalls of taking a strong position either way, and really focus on the women who often seem to be left behind in this giant political debate over abortion in this country. So we thought it would be a greater service to our audience to really have a look at the women in that moment of decision and how she's feeling and what's influencing her decision.
What was your approach to the women?
We approached them with empathy and gentleness. And surprisingly, more women than we suspected agreed to participate. We were dealing with mostly young people. And I think they could tell that we were understanding and empathetic of their situation, and that we would be gentle and have care in our presentation of them.