‘Aftershock’ Directors Tonya Lewis Lee & Paula Eiselt Interview — Contenders Documentary –

When a woman dies from complications of childbirth, she leaves her loved ones struggling to cope with the loss. AftershockA documentary by Disney’s Onyx Collective brings attention to America’s maternal mortality crisis by focusing on the d*aths of two women and the family members they leave behind.

“Often people hear about an issue like maternal mortality and morbidity, and they just see the numbers,” filmmaker Tonya Lewis-Lee said during a panel at’s Contenders Film: Documentary Awards Season event.


RELATED: The Contenders Documentary – Full Coverage

Lewis Lee co-directed and co-produced the film with Paula Ezelett. After deciding to make a documentary together, they looked for a way to humanize the story, aiming to change the way the issue was viewed.

“We both felt it was important to tell this story through people’s lived experiences,” said Lewis-Lee.


Aftershock Shimoni Gibson, 30, and Amber Rose Isaacs, 26, centers on two young women who died from complications of childbirth.


Gibson gave birth to a son via C-section. After expressing concern to doctors about her deteriorating health, she was told not to worry and died within two weeks. Isaac died of complications from an emergency C-section.

Among developed countries, maternal mortality is particularly high in the U.S., and Ezelt notes that a major factor is the country’s reliance on C-sections.


“We have a really high rate of C-sections and that’s encouraged by insurance companies that pay more for these C-sections, so doctors are not encouraged to give women natural births,” she said. Make time for.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 700 women die each year in the United States from complications of pregnancy or childbirth. A disproportionate number of these women are black.

“Women, and black women in particular, are not seen and heard more than anyone else,” Ezelt said. “They’re not reliable. When they say something’s wrong, they’re dismissed and that just perpetuates a system of incompetence within the system, and that’s why we have the rates we do. “

Check back Wednesday for the panel video.


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