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Vessel begins with a young doctor who lived by the sea, and an unlikely idea.  Rebecca Gomperts, horrified by the realities created by anti-abortion law around the world, felt compelled to challenge this.  Her method: to provide abortions on a ship in offshore waters.

Her project, Women on Waves, begins as flawed spectacle, a media frenzy, faced with governmental, religious, and military blockades.  But with each setback comes a more refined mission, until Rebecca has the revelation that she can use new technologies to bypass law – and train women to give themselves safe abortions using WHO-sanctioned protocols with pills.

We witness the creation of an underground network of emboldened, informed activists, working at the cutting edge of global reproductive rights, who trust women to handle abortion themselves. Vessel is Rebecca’s story: one of a woman who heard and answered a calling, and transformed a wildly improbable idea into a global movement.


Diana Whitten (director/producer) has a decade of professional film/TV direction, production and design experience. She founded Sovereignty Productions in 2008, following a Fulbright Fellowship to Indonesia, and was the Director of Communications at Ford Foundation International Fellowships Program. Vessel, her first feature film, premiered at South by Southwest Film Festival and won the Audience Award in the Documentary Competition, as well as a Special Jury Award for Political Courage.  Awards include the inaugural Peter Wintonick Award from Sheffield DocFest, an Honorable mention for the Moving Mountains Award at Mountainfilm in Telluride, and the Adrienne Shelly Excellence in Filmmaking Award.

Mitchell Block (producer) has handled the distribution and marketing of hundreds of documentary, live action, and animated shorts films and documentary features, 25 have won Oscars and 71 have received Academy Award nominations. He is president of Direct Cinema Limited, a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the Television Academy, a founding member of BAFTA-LA, and a life member of the UFVA and the IDA.  Recent work includes the Emmy Award winning PBS series Carrier, and the Oscar nominated short docPoster Girl.

Elissa Brown (co-producer) has worked in all aspects of documentaries for the past eight years. She has produced, directed and edited corporate videos for the Heinz Family Foundation since 2010, and is currently co-producing the feature Windshield: A Vanished Vision, directed by Joanna Datillo. Previously she Associate Produced By the People: The Election of Barack Obama, released on HBO in November, 2009. Prior work includes serving as assistant editor on Bi the Way and an internship at the marketing and distribution firm THINKFilm. She completed her undergraduate work at Brown University and post-grad coursework at Duke University’s Center for Documentary Studies.

Simeon Hutner (editor) Editing credits include: When I Walk,Harlem Street Singer,  Melting Planet, and Praying with LiorSelf Made Man, and Blue Vinyl,Chicks in White Satin, (nominated for an Academy Award in 1994), Mentor. He was Series Producer on the television series Dog, The Bounty Hunterfor A&E.  Simeon received MacDowell Fellowships in 2001 and 2003, and fellowships from Yaddo in 2002 and 2004.   He has an MFA in Film Production from the USC, an MBA from NYU and a BA from Middlebury College.

Todd Griffin (composer) has scored dozens of film and theater projects, worked with leading independent filmmakers including Jem Cohen, Tze Chun, Michael Almereyda, Esther Robinson, Sam Green and Kimberly Reed, and has collaborated with musical luminaries such as Patti Smith, Vic Chesnutt, Tom Verlaine, DJ/Rupture and members of Fugazi, The Ex, and godspeed you! black emperor, and was a 2008 Fellow at the Sundance Composer’s lab.

Heather McIntosh (composer) is the house cellist for the Elephant 6 Collective, she has played with of Montreal, The Olivia Tremor Control, The Music Tapes, Gerbils, Elf Power, Circulatory System, Apples in Stereo, Great Lakes, and The Ladybug Transistor.  She has extended her talents outside of Athens performing with Linda Perhacs, Kevin Ayers of the Soft Machine, Faust, Animal Collective, Cat Power, Superchunk, M Ward, The Clientele, St. Vincent, Azure Ray, Icy Demons, Bright Eyes, Washed Out, Dr. Dog, Gnarls Barkley, and Lil Wayne.

Emily Hubley (animator) Animations for films include: Blue Vinyl, Everything’s Cool, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Disturbing the Universe, Boy in the Bubble,the Storybook Project.  Her feature film, The Toe Tacticwas developed at Sundance Institute’s Screenwriters’ and Filmmakers’ Labs and premiered at MOMA 2009.  Ms. Hubley’s shorts have shown at Sundance, South by Southwest, MOMA, Tribeca, the Robert Flaherty Film Seminar and the Southern Circuit Tour; and are in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art, Department of Film. She is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Emilie Liu (animator) is a motion graphic designer and illustrator based in New York City. Born and raised in Taipei, Taiwan, she receives her BFA in Advertising from the National Chengchi University, Taipei in 2010 and her MFA in Computer Art with a concentration in motion graphics from the School of Visual Arts, New York in 2012. Since 2006, Liu has received numerous awards for her animation work, including Adobe Design Achievement Awards Semifinalist, the Taipei Creative CF, and Taipei Times Advertising Award.

Full Cast and Crew

Featuring Rebecca Gomperts, Kinga Jelinska, Cecilia Costa, Gunilla Kleiverda, Myra ter Meulen, Margreet Parlevliet, Juul Brockling, Lizet Kraal, Margie Moore, Susan Davies, Ivette Mrova, Annemarie van den Heuvel, Ana Cristina Santos, Sara larrea, Ana Cristina Vera, Veronica Vera, Paula Castello Starkoff, Manuela Luna Creciente, Nondo Ebuela Ejano

Voiceover Kinga Jelinska, Inês Rodrigues

Additional Camera

Ecuador Aubree Bernier-Clarke, Jennie Allen, Cedric Zoenen, Ivette Mrova

Netherlands Janine Abbring, Anita Schillhorn van Veen

Costa Rica Natasha Pachano

Ireland Hillary Heath

Portugal Dina Campos Lopes, Raquel Freire, Noor Venrooy, Monica Dijkstra, Luisa Homem, Fausto Cardoso (sound)

Pakistan Nisar Ahmad

Vienna Thomas Christian Eichtinger

Original music performed by

Cello Heather Mcintosh

Viola Jessica Pavone

Violin Catherine Mcrae

All other instruments T. Griffin

Online Editor & Colorist Björn Bellenbaum

Online Assistant Jacob Kedzierski

Audio Post Production David Wilson

Associate Producers Anita Schillhorn van Veen, Montana Wojczuk, Adriana Young, Thomas Christian Eichtinger (Vienna)

Production Assistants Kathryn Conkling, Carolyn Whitten, Danielle Bell

Archives Producer Marianna Yarovskaya

Archives Assistance Tim Manders

Titles Design Emilie Hsin Pei Liu

With acknowledgment to the Editing Team through 2011

Editor Susan Korda

Assistant Editor Patrick Schoenville

Intern David Dunham

Post Production Assistants Carmen Jimenez, Andrew Hauser

Print Graphics Daria Erdosy

Poster Design Empty the Sunrise

Publicity Photos Leah Rae

Community and Grassroots Distribution Strategy Caitlin Boyle, Film Sprout

Outreach Consulting Danielle Bernstein, Kelly Matheson

Production Counsel Gray Krauss Stratford Sandler Des Rochers LLP: Jonathan Gray, Esq., Bianca Grimshaw, Esq.

Additional Production Counsel Marianna Shelenkova, Damian Ridealgh, Thao Tran, Lucy Muzzy, Brian Mencher, Tatyana Levina, Patty Skuster

Publicity Adam J. Segal, the 2050 Group; Fitzgibbon Media

Fundraising Advisor Sunny Daly

Fiscal Sponsors Women Make Movies, Arts Engine

Accounting Adams and Salter, CPA, PC, Leah Hurley

Rough Cut Screening Production Craft Media

Production Translation Gillian Gough

Transcribers /Translators Yeidy Luz Rosa Ortiz, Patrick Schonewille, Kathryn Conkling, Yliana Paola Nunez Solorio, Rocio de la Rosa, Sebastian Gutierrez, Nadia Mohamed, Diana Quinones Rivera, Francesca Carendi, Nandini Jayakr, Zeenath Shareef, William and Marissa Lipovsky, Lindsay Cuff, Milena Garcia, Genesis Henriquez, Malu Alvarez, Med Amajoud, Wilbert Mahenge, Ana Figueiredo, Zack George, Lissa Penteado, Greg Czarnecki, Xavier Ortells Nicolau

This film was made possible with generous support from:

Fork Films

Chicken and Egg Pictures

Impact Partners, and its following members: Compton Foundation, Patricia Lambrecht, Michael J. Levinthal, Debbie McLeod & Jay Sears, Juliette Feeney-Timsit & Caroleen Feeney, Beth Sackler, Katrina Vanden Heuvel and Wadsworth & Wadsworth

Hivos, Hope Foundation, Mary Wohlford Foundation, NYSCA, Puffin Foundation, E. Rhodes and Leona b. Carpenter Foundation, Mama Cash, Fledgling Fund, Harnisch Foundation, IPAS, the Whitten Family

Martha Aney, Annas Alamudi, Marcia Becker, Daniel Belasco, Harriet e. Bell, Van Bluemel, Wayne Brooks, Nell Boeschenstein, Bari Boyer, Brummelkamp van-Joost, Philip Caraway, Karim Chebani, George Coleman, Erin Currier, Kristin David, Vera Dekort, Jenny Deller, Jay Dedman, Gove Depuy, Robert Dewey, Steve Dibaslo, Susan and Christopher Durham, Ethan Hon, Dorothy Fadiman, Emily Feder, Gereldine Feldman, Mariah Freeman, Nathaniel Freitas, Yolanda Foley, Jean-Jaques Gabriel, Peggy Elliot Goldwyn, Corky Hale & Mike Stoller, Kathleen Hanna, Dena Hanold, Lisa Harris, Vanessa Hartman, Arthur Henshaw, Cornelia Hermann, Annabelle Jellinek, Mary Katzen, Deirdre k. Krasner, Thomas lydick, Sally Mahood, Nina Mazlof, Heather Mccready, Lexi Mcguiness, Hillary Miller, Cambra Moniz Edwards, Liza Monroy, Heather Monteith, Justin Moyer, David Nash, Tom Neill, Mary Ostrow, Pandriam, Jim Paugh, Scott Pelkey, Bridget Potter, Annette Rafferty, July Rogan, David Rosen & Karen Shapiro, Dan Rothenberg, Chip Sbrogna, Tjaart & Karla Schillhorn van Veen, Meryl Schwartz-Holcombe, Carol l. Seager, Omar Sharif, Amanda Siegelson, Glynn Spelliscy, Rob and Elissa Spillman, Ann Strager, Andy Thorton, Danielle Teitelman, Nan Tuttleman, Daniel Villarreal, Danny Wallace, Martin Washburn & Lis Harris, Eric Yoo

Special Thanks to

Women on Waves, Women on Web, Mardi Kildebeck, Judith Helfand, Wendy Ettinger, Julie Parker Benello, IPAS, Coordinadora Juvenil, Womens Promotion Center, Medical Students for Choice, Sam Pollard, Justin Moyer, Robert Richert, Sophie Tuttleman, Ariel Dougherty, Cindy Cooper, Jennifer Baumgardner, Marjan Sax, Nassim Assefi, Alan Adelson, Sue Wicklund, Natasha Gill, Jonathan Bach, Violeta Krasnic, Leila Darabi, Marta Drury, Rachel Yamada, Barbara Bell, Jessica Arinella, Alicia Arinella, Cheryl Furjanic, Josephine Decker, Sarah Foudy, Zoie Omega, Ava Jardin, Sarah Kornbluth, Amy Sharp, Sinead Kinnane, Brian Hendries, Nora Dye, Lacey Clarke, Sinnead Kinnane, Cathy Berger, Kate Amend, Debra Anderson, Cleo Cacoulidis, Sharon Hughes, Lucy Hutner, Paul Kaufman, Karen Ostrom, Debra Zimmerman, Lucila Moctezuma, Tracy Holder, Julia Ellis-Kahana, Kat Vecchio, Juli Kobayashi, Susan Yanow, Bart Weiss, Janet Pierson, Tedxamazonia, Jackson, All our screeners.


Abigail E. Disney (executive producer) is a filmmaker and philanthropist. Her longtime passion for women’s issues and peacebuilding culminated in her first film, the acclaimed “Pray the Devil Back to Hell”, about the Liberian women who peacefully ended their country’s fourteen-year civil war. She is currently Executive Producer of the groundbreaking PBS mini-series “Women, War & Peace”, the most comprehensive global media initiative ever mounted on the role of women in peace and conflict. Her work in philanthropy, women’s engagement and leadership, and conflict resolution has been recognized through the Epic Award from the White House Project, the Changing the Landscape for Women Award from the Center for the Advancement of Women, and the prestigious International Advocate for Peace (IAP) Award from the Cardozo Law School’s Cardozo Journal of Conflict Resolution. In addition, Abigail holds degrees from Yale, Stanford, and Columbia.

Dan Cogan (executive producer) is the Executive Director and Co-Founder of Impact Partners, a fund and advisory service for investors and philanthropists who seek to promote social change through film. Since its inception less than three years ago, IP has been involved in the financing of over 25 films, including: THE COVE, which won the 2010 Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature; FREEHELD, which won the 2008 Academy Award for Best Documentary Short Film; THE GARDEN, which was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature in 2009; and THE GHOSTS OF ABU GHRAIB, which won the 2007 Emmy for Best Documentary Special. Mr. Cogan has spoken on documentary film finance at film festivals and conferences around the world, including the The Sundance Film Festival, The Toronto Film Festival, The Silverdocs Film Festival, the IFP’s Independent Film Week, and Film Independent’s Filmmaker Forum. Mr. Cogan received his B.A. from Harvard University, Magna Cum Laude, and attended the Film Division at Columbia University’s Graduate School of the Arts.

Geralyn Dreyfous (executive producer) Geralyn Dreyfous is the co-founder of Impact Partners and has a wide background in the arts, long experience in consulting in the philanthropic sector, and is active on many boards and initiatives. She worked at the Philanthropic Initiative in Boston, which guides families of wealth in strategic giving opportunities and also taught Documentary and Narrative Writing with Dr. Robert Coles at Harvard University. Geralyn is also the Founder/ Board Chair of the Utah Film Center and a charter member of the Utah Coalition for Film and Media. Geralyn’s executive producing and producing credits include the Academy Award winning Born Into Brothels; Emmy nominated The Day My God Died; and multiple film festival winners such as Kick Like a GirlIn A DreamDhamma BrothersProject KashmirMiss RepresentationConnectedand The Invisible War.

Jenny Raskin (co-executive producer) Jenny is a documentary producer, director and writer. Her work has been broadcast on PBS, The National Geographic Channel, The Sundance Channel and The Discovery Channel. Her feature documentary ON HOSTILE GROUND was released theatrically to critical acclaim and broadcast on The Sundance Channel. She produced the feature documentary MOTHERLAND AFGHANISTAN for PBS/Independent Lens. Most recently, she wrote and produced SAVING MICHAEL VICK’S DOGS, a special for The National Geographic Channel. She has also worked as a story consultant and writer for several documentary films and television series. She received her B.A. from Barnard College and a masters degree from the Culture and Media Program at New York University.

Web of Vessel.

Web of Women on waves.


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