The film tells the extraordinary story of former congresswoman Gabby Giffords recovery following an assassination attempt in 2011 and her new life as one of the most effective activists in the gun violence prevention movement.
Ann Satkoski, friend and film producer, gives an insider’s view of this incredible new documentary, after the preview.
Interview with Ann Satkoski
TTD: Please share with readers a bit of your background; your career in TV & film and how you became involved in Gabby Giffords Wont Back Down.
AS: I’ve been in the entertainment business for almost 2 decades and I’m currently an executive producer at Lisa Erspamer Entertainment.
We create and produce content across film, television, digital and branded platforms. I spent nearly a decade at Harpo Productions, working on “The Oprah Winfrey Show” and for the OWN Network, and went on to co-executive produce the Emmy-winning syndicated talk show” Pickler & Ben”. Working on documentary films is also a passion of ours – we produced the 2018 Grammy-nominated film “Whitney” and worked on Mary J. Blige’s documentary, “My Life”, for Amazon. We’re always on the lookout for our next project and so when my boss and mentor, former Oprah Show executive producer Lisa Erspamer, told me about the opportunity to work on a film about Gabby Giffords, I couldn’t have been more thrilled.
TTD: How did this documentary get made? Who felt the urgency/saw the need to get her story out? Who pushed for it?
AS: In 2013, Lisa met Gabby Giffords after the Sandy Hook tragedy. Lisa was deeply moved by how Gabby connected to and consoled the grieving families in spite of not always being able to say what she is thinking, due to her aphasia, which she sustained as a result of her gunshot wound. After that encounter, Lisa told a close friend of Gabby’s that a doc needed to be made about her story someday – and she didn’t stop until it happened. She worked closely with Gabby’s team and advisors, who we eventually introduced to the directors and the rest is history!
TTD: The beauty of documentaries, is that the we see facts wrapped in a story. In this case, Gabby Giffords’ life, the shooting, and her recovery. Give us your professional takeaways from this experience, as an insider in the process.
AS: During the promotion of this film, I’ve been able to see the Giffords team and Gabby in action and I am in constant awe of their energy and tenacity – they never stop. Gabby doesn’t miss a film screening, a Q&A – if there is any opportunity to reach people and get her message out there, she doesn’t miss it. It’s beyond inspiring to be around a group of people who are truly affecting change.
TTD: How has this documentary personally affected you?
AS: As a mother of small children, this film has ignited an even greater sense of urgency to do anything I can to protect my kids from gun violence. I’ve been calling my senators and educating myself more than ever before. I’m taking action instead of just watching the news and feeling sad. It’s empowering and I highly recommend it!
TTD: As part of our advocacy series, we ask that you offer a couple of simple and sustainable steps readers can take to advocate for gun safety.
AS: Giffords.org is in incredible resource — I recommend following them on social media too as they are always putting out easily digestible and actionable content. Sadly, guns are now the leading cause of death for American kids. Beyond mass shootings, suicide rates are skyrocketing – Giffords.org breaks down what they know works to prevent gun violence (raising the minimum age for civilians to purchase fire arms until their brains are fully developed, violence invention programs, responsible firearm storage, etc) and how you can support them in their mission to implement what will make a difference.