Join your fellow FBA-NOVA members in seeing this acclaimed film in one of the few open to the public non-theater showings of this summer’s most popular movies. Grab friends, a picnic (Goodies Frozen Custard & Treats will be on hand), and bring your chairs or blankets to partake in this amazing evening.
At the age of 85, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has developed a lengthy legal legacy while becoming an unexpected pop culture icon. But the unique personal journey of her rise to the nation's highest court has been largely unknown, even to some of her biggest fans – until now. RBG explores Ginsburg's life and career. From Betsy West and Julie Cohen, and co-produced by Storyville Films and CNN Films.
It was three years ago, January 2015, that we first had the idea of making a feature documentary about Ruth Bader Ginsburg. We had both, separately, interviewed the Justice for projects in the past, and had both admired her trailblazing work for women’s rights. But that was before she had broken out as the octogenarian rock star “Notorious RBG,” with millennials extolling her virtues on Twitter and Tumblr, stocking up on RBG tee-shirts and tote bags and, in extreme cases, getting tattoos–-big, permanent, multi-color tattoos–-of her face.
Talking about the RBG phenomenon one day, we turned to each other and said “we need to make a documentary about Justice Ginsburg right now.”
A phrase we used in those early conversations was that RBG was “having her moment.” What we didn’t fully grasp then was how that moment was about to expand into something bigger and more important even as we were documenting her extraordinary life.
Working with a team of women in the top creative and executive roles, we began filming in June of 2016, doing our best to keep up with the Justice’s hectic schedule. We filmed her in her office, on vacation with her family and working out with her personal trainer. We also began tracking down the dramatic stories of the clients she represented as a young lawyer arguing before the Supreme Court in the 1970’s. At that time, it was perfectly legal to discriminate on the basis of sex. RBG’s brilliant legal strategy resulted in five groundbreaking rulings that made great strides towards putting women and men on an equal footing before the law.
As women who began our careers in television news after RBG changed the world for working women, we couldn’t help but think about how far we’ve come. And yet, over the course of making this film, a series of powerful men have been revealed as sexual harassers, highlighting how far we still have to go.
We took to heart Justice Ginsburg’s approach to sexism and adversity. When, after graduating at the top of her law school class, she could not get a job, she remembered her mother’s advice: anger is a waste of time. Eventually, she was able to use her formidable legal skills to fight for justice for women--a fight she has continued through five decades.
Justice Ginsburg’s steadfast commitment remains, not only for gender equality but for democratic institutions that protect the rights of all citizens. No wonder she is a millennial icon.
Meeting RBG in person is a powerful experience. Her voice is soft, but her words are so clear and carefully chosen that you find yourself drawing closer, riveted. After Donald Trump’s election, the most frequent reaction we got when we told people about the film was, “How is her health? Is she OK?” We want audiences to see for themselves the Notorious RBG in action — staying up late into the night crafting blistering dissents and doing the planks, squats and push-ups that keep her in shape to do the job she loves.
– Betsy West and Julie Cohen