Director Rebecca Cammisa discusses Yours in Freedom, Bill Baird

Director Rebecca Cammisa discusses Yours in Freedom, Bill Baird

October 27, 2023 A Documentary Series Screening in NY

Bill Baird is a reproductive rights pioneer who is believed to be the first and only non-lawyer in American history with three Supreme Court victories. He was jailed eight times in five states in the 1960s for lecturing on abortion and birth control. He has been called by some in the media, the “father” of the birth control and abortion-rights movement. He has been called by others, The Devil Incarnate, Pervert, CIA Agent, Saint, Murderer.

Director Rebecca Cammisa’s new documentary, Yours in Freedom, Bill Baird, follows the story of the unsung hero of the birth control battle, who gave up everything — his family, his livelihood, his freedom — in pursuit of women’s rights.

Following the Eastern Special Projects Committee’s Documentary Series screening at the Guild's New York Theater on October 27, and welcomes from Committee Chair Raymond De Felitta and Focus on Women Committee Co-Chair Maggie Greenwald, Cammisa sat down with Director Tia Lessin (The Janes) to talk about the making of the film. They were later joined onstage by the subject of her film, Bill Baird and his wife Joni Baird.

Speaking of why she opted to make the film, Cammisa admitted, “I didn’t know about Bill Baird when I was asked to make this documentary. A major part of our education about the history of women's rights has been kept from us… erased So making this film was really a true discovery.” She also discussed the relevance of the film in the light of current events. “The one thing that kept me going is this film was not abortion nor birth control. It was the right to privacy. They start off with one thing and then they're going to get beholden they're going to take another then they're going to take another. They're gonna take a right and another right. So, I'm not really thinking just about abortion it's bigger than that.”

Cammisa's other directorial credits include the documentary features Atomic Homefront, Which Way Home and Sister Helen; episodes of the series Film School; the short film Sunset Tuxedo and the Oscar-nominated short documentary God Is the Bigger Elvis. She has been a DGA member since 2013.


Q&A photos by Marcie Revens — Print Courtesy of Tera Mater Studios 

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