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.
A Sovereignty Productions presentation, in association with Fork Films, Impact Partners, and Chicken and Egg Pictures.
Vessel was made possible with generous support from HIVOS, Mary Wohlford Foundation, Hope Foundation, NYSCA, Fledgling Fund, E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation, Puffin Foundation, Mama Cash, Harnisch Foundation, Ipas, Grant Me the Wisdom Foundation, Diane and Adam Max, Lambrecht Family Foundation, Rosenthal Family Foundation, Dobkin Family Foundation, Compton Foundation, over 150 individual donors, an army of fabulous volunteers, and the fiscal sponsorship of Women Make Movies.
“A deeply moving portrait… powerfully impassioned.”
“An intriguing story passionately told, shot through and through with activist zeal”
"The Dawn of the Post Abortion Clinic"
"Vessel Inspires the Future Fight for Abortion Rights”
"How long until illegal abortion is the norm here, too?"
“How could we create a space in which the only permission a woman needs is her own?”
The Woman Who Sailed A Mobile Abortion Clinic Around The World
"Humanity will always search for spaces of freedom and privacy,' Rebecca Gomperts."
"Dr. Rebecca Gomperts, a Jezebel Shero of the Year."
“Meet the woman leading a D.I.Y. abortion revolution.”
"An Interview with the Activist Helping Women Have DIY Abortions"
"Almost too cinematic to be real."
"Vessel is much more than a documentary about abortion rights; it’s about the conviction, creativity, and sacrifice that goes into creating a movement."
“A powerful, knock-your-socks-off documentary that will strike fear in your hearts and remind you to get out and fight for what’s right!”
“Intense, emotional, and inspiring”
"Compelling and emotionally charged."
“Shows a big idea can become something even bigger”
“A nuanced, educational and powerful film about activism and its ability to change the world”
“Vessel tells an extraordinary tale that needs to be seen and discussed”
“Vessel” is a fascinating film, by turns happy and sad, optimistic and pessimistic and very moving throughout.
“Judging by the screaming “Bravos!” at Vessel’s premiere, the SXSW crowd was hungry for a commonsense documentary showing women taking back control of their own health care choices.”
"A fast-paced, heart-thumping adventure... a must see"
"Beautiful and heart-wrenching"
"Could a new film premiering at SXSW really change the Abortion Landscape in Texas?"
Rebecca Gomperts: ‘If men could get pregnant there wouldn’t be abortion laws’
"A fascinating film about freedom, freedom of expression, and human femininity; watching this movie will make you wipe away tears, stand up and think about how you too can make a difference."
"This is a vital film about true women warriors."
"The documentary is understated and beautiful, and we are left with a sense of hope... a poignant reminder of the power of both individual stories and collective support."
Women on Waves was founded in 2000 with the aim to prevent unwanted pregnancies and unsafe abortions by providing sexual health services, including early medical abortions (abortion with pills), on board a Dutch ship, outside the territorial waters of countries where abortion is illegal.
In the last 10 years Women on Waves has generated enormous public interest, and much controversy, with ship campaigns in Ireland, Poland, Portugal, Spain, and Morocco. The ship campaigns are conducted by invitation and in collaboration with local partner organizations, and are designed to add momentum to activist efforts already on the ground working to liberalize law.
Although legalization of abortion is important, medical abortion now gives women the possibility to take their lives into their own hands, regardless of the legality of abortion or the willingness of doctors. Ensuring that WHO-researched information about medical abortion is easily available to women can save women’s lives. Therefore, Women on Waves now focuses on helping women access information about medical abortion by distributing information through the internet, grassroots efforts on the ground, and by supporting the creation of safe abortion telephone hotlines in collaboration with partner organizations across South America, Africa, Asia, and Europe.
For more information, or if you need help, please visit www.womenonwaves.org
Do you believe the most fundamental human right is the right to control your own body? Do you believe no one should be able to make decisions about what a woman does with her body except for her?
Then get on board!
Sign up to join Vessel’s network of advocates fighting to protect women’s access to reproductive health care. We’ll let you know the most urgent moments and ways to make your voice heard for women’s reproductive rights in your community, how you can help us spread the word about this film to your friends and family, and how you can participate in Vessel actions wherever you are.
|Opening Jan 9||New York, NY IFC Center||Buy Tickets|
|Feb 7||3:00 PM||New York, NY Athena Film Festival||Buy Tickets|
|Feb 7||7:00 PM||Toledo, OH People Called Women Feminist Bookstore|
|Feb 9||6:30 PM||Boston, MA West Village F 20, Northeastern University|
|Feb 9||7:00 PM||Columbus, OH Meiling Hall, Room 112, Ohio State University College of Medicine|
|Feb 10||7:00 PM||Chapel Hill, NC Hanes Art Center, University of North Carolina Chapel Hill|
|Feb 11||7:00 PM||Aspen, CO Wheeler Opera House|
|Feb 12||5:00 PM||Brownsville, TX The University of Texas at Brownsville|
|Feb 12||6:00 PM||Wilmette, IL Wilmette Theatre|
|Feb 12||7:00 PM||Ann Arbor, MI University of Michigan Law School|
|Feb 16||8:00 PM||Richmond, VA University of Richmond|
|Feb 18||7:00 PM||Denver, CO SIE Film Center|
|Feb 19||7:00 PM||New York, NY The New School||Buy Tickets|
|Feb 19||7:00 PM||San Francisco, CA Delancey Street Screen Room|
|Feb 19||7:30 PM||Berlin Humboldt Universität zu Berlin|
|Feb 20||2:30 PM||Montréal, QC Salon Orange, Centre Pierre Péladeau|
|Feb 22||7:00 PM||Albuquerque, NM The Guild Cinema||Buy Tickets|
|Feb 24||6:00 PM||Canterbury, Kent Kent Law School|
|Feb 25||6:30 PM||Calgary, AB The Plaza Theatre|
|Feb 25||7:00 PM||Poultney, VT Green Mountain College|
|Feb 25||7:00 PM||Tulsa, OK All Souls Unitarian Church|
|Feb 26||6:00 PM||Portland, ME University Events Room, Glickman Library, University of Southern Maine|
|Feb 27||7:00 PM||Phoenix, AZ Phoenix Center for the Arts|
|Mar 3||6:30 PM||Saskatoon, SK The Broadway Theatre|
|Mar 3||7:30 PM||Boulder, CO Atlas Building|
|Mar 4||7:00 PM||Galesburg, IL Knox College|
|Mar 6||5:00 PM||Poughkeepsie, NY Vassar College|
|Mar 6||7:00 PM||Halifax, NS Carbon Arc|
|Mar 12||6:30 PM||San Diego, CA First Unitarian Universalist Church of San Diego|
|Mar 22||7:00 PM||Charlottesville, VA Thomas Jefferson Memorial Church|
|Mar 25||8:00 PM||Berlin K-Fetisch Cafe|
|Apr 18||11:30 AM||Coral Gables, FL University of Miami|
|Apr 23||7:00 PM||Portland, OR 5th Avenue Cinema|
Nonprofits, student groups, activists and educators can sponsor local screenings to broaden the film's reach. To host a local screening, you contribute a modest screening fee and, in return, we give you:
...And hands-on support from our community screenings team!
Fill in our brief request form to indicate your interest, or email email@example.com. We look forward to responding within 1-2 business days with instructions on how to get started!
Rebecca Gomperts lands the ship in Valencia, Spain
The ship awaits entry to Portugal
Rebecca and the Irish press
The ship arrives in Spain
Ecuadorian activists publicize the hotline
Cecilia and Paula answer the hotline
Rebecca on the ship
Volunteers and women on the ship
the Women on Waves ship
Philippa Kowarsky | Cinephil | +972 3 566 4129 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Kayla Keller | Fitzgibbon Media | 281.682.6212 | email@example.com
Community Screenings and Filmmaker Appearances:
Allie Paddock | Film Sprout | 347.682.2483 | firstname.lastname@example.org
North American Sales:
Jake Hanly | FilmBuff | 212.463.6403 | email@example.com