New York, N.Y. – November 30, 2021 – A rising star in progressive politics and a new father, Ady Barkan’s life was upended when he was diagnosed with ALS at age 32. But after a chance encounter with a U.S. Senator on an airplane catapults him to fame, Ady and a motley crew of activists barnstorm across the country, igniting a movement for universal healthcare in a journey that transforms his belief in what is possible for his country and his family. Not Going Quietly premieres on the award-winning PBS television series POV on Monday, January 24th, 2022 at 9:00 p.m. ET (check local listings) on PBS, pbs.org, and the PBS Video app.
An inspiring and sobering story about disability, activism and family - and Ady’s fight for accessible healthcare - the documentary Not Going Quietly is directed by Nicholas Bruckman (director of La Americana, producer of Valley of Saints) and produced by Amanda Roddy.
Recently nominated for three IDA awards including ‘Best Documentary Feature’ and the winner of the 2021 Audience Award at the SXSW Film Festival, the film is executive produced by Bradley Whitford, Mark Duplass andJay Duplass, Sam Bisbee, Jackie Kelman Bisbee, Wendy Kelman Neu, Nina Tassler, Joan Boorstein, and Denise Di Novi. Not Going Quietly also won the Special Jury Recognition for Documentary Feature for Humanity in Social Action, was nominated for two Critics Choice Documentary Awards and screened at the Tribeca Film Festival. RogerEbert.com called it “a shot of pure inspiration.”
Called the “most powerful activist in America," Barkan's “Be a Hero” campaign landed him on Time Magazine’s list of the 100 Most Influential People of 2020 and a speaking spot at the 2020 Democratic National Convention. Prior to the convention, Ady interviewed the candidates vying for the party’s nomination about how they would address the nation’s broken healthcare system. And as millions still go without the medical care they need, those fighting for Medicare for All continually draw inspiration from Ady’s story.
Not Going Quietly offers a nuanced look behind the scenes of Ady’s life and work as he navigates the successes and struggles of his fight for universal healthcare while dealing with ALS. Facing the loss of his natural speaking voice, Ady recognizes the power of his words and personal story to spark change, remaining committed to using his platform to advocate for others. Transformed by an illness that made strikingly clear how healthcare systems need fixing, Ady’s story is ultimately one of perseverance and hope, reveling in the possibility for change and the joy of solidarity.
"In putting his personal struggle on display as a tool for social change, Ady’s vulnerability, strength, and commitment moved us deeply as filmmakers. Our goal in making this film, through Ady’s example, is to explore how personal storytelling is one of the most powerful tools to take part in our democracy and help build a more just society – a goal we share with the incredible team at POV," said director Nicholas Bruckman and producer Amanda Roddy.
“Not Going Quietly connects us with a brave and generous protagonist who, in the hands of these gifted filmmakers, becomes an active participant in the telling of his own story. Ady’s willingness to let us into his life, even in his most challenging moments, is an act of kindness and an invitation to solidarity. His spirit and courage are an inspiration and a reminder of our shared responsibility to care for each other," said Chris White, executive producer, POV.
Following the broadcast of Not Going Quietly, the short film Team Meryland will make its public television broadcast debut as part of POV Shorts' fourth season. The film, directed by Gabriel Gaurano, takes place in the projects of Watts where Meryland Gonzales, a twelve-year-old female boxer trains to be crowned the 2019 Junior Olympics champion. Meanwhile, her immigrant parents work tirelessly to give their child a shot at achieving her dreams. Team Meryland was an official selection at both the Big Sky Documentary Film Festival and the Palm Springs International Film Festival.
Not Going Quietly and Team Meryland will be available for streaming concurrently with the films’ broadcast on all station-branded PBS platforms, including PBS.org and the PBS Video App, available on iOS, Android, Roku streaming devices, Apple TV, Android TV, Amazon Fire TV, Samsung Smart TV, Chromecast and VIZIO. PBS station members can view many series, documentaries and specials via PBS Passport. For more information about PBS Passport, visit the PBS Passport FAQ website.
About the Filmmakers
Nicholas Bruckman (Director, Not Going Quietly)
Nicholas Bruckman produced the feature film Valley of Saints, which won the Audience Award in the World Cinema competition at the Sundance Film Festival and was nominated for an Independent Spirit award. The film was released on Netflix and was a New York Times Critics Pick.
He previously directed the feature documentary La Americana, which won the best documentary prize at the NY and LA Latino Film Festivals. The film broadcast worldwide on networks including PBS, Nat Geo, and Al Jazeera.
Bruckman's work has received support from foundations including the Fledgling Fund, Cinereach, NYSCA, NYFA, and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. He is the founder of People's Television, a New York and D.C.-based branded & original content company.
Amanda Roddy (Producer, Not Going Quietly)
Amanda Roddy is an award-winning documentary filmmaker. She has led projects as a director, producer, and writer for clients such as the Democratic National Convention, Covergirl, Elizabeth Warren’s presidential Campaign, Equal Justice Works, The Nature Conservancy, and The Equity Fund. Recently, she directed and produced a two-minute primetime television spot that appeared on NBC during the 2020 Democratic National Convention. Her work has been supported by the International Documentary Association, Rooftop Films, Film Independent, IFP, and HBO.
Gabriel Gaurano (Director, Team Meryland)
Growing up as the youngest of seven kids, Gabe got his start by making childhood action films on his mom's videocamera. His latest short, Team Meryland, was a finalist at the 2019 Tribeca If/Then contest and had its world premiere at the 2021 Oscar qualifying Big Sky Documentary Film Festival.
Julia Elihu (Producer, Team Meryland)
Julia Elihu is an Iranian-American writer and director who strives to tell untold stories through her own passionate lens. Julia’s love for her Persian culture inspires her to create, and pushes her to tell stories from a unique perspective. In 2018, she brought these themes to her short film Yasmin, which is based on her mother’s story of immigration and was a Grand Jury Prize Nominee at the 2018 AFI Film Festival. More recently, she produced Team Meryland which was acquired by The New Yorker and POV Shorts. Julia's latest short film, Winter of '79, had its World Premiere at the Oscar-Qualifying Rhode Island International Film Festival, and its West Coast Premiere at the Oscar-Qualifying Hollyshorts Film Festival.
Produced by American Documentary, POV is the longest-running independent documentary showcase on American television. Since 1988, POV has presented films on PBS that capture the full spectrum of the human experience, with a long commitment to centering women and people of color in front of, and behind, the camera. The series is known for introducing generations of viewers to groundbreaking works like Tongues Untied, American Promise and Minding The Gap and innovative filmmakers including Jonathan Demme, Laura Poitras and Nanfu Wang. In 2018, POV Shorts launched as one of the first PBS series dedicated to bold and timely short-form documentaries. All POV programs are broadcast nationally on PBS, POV.org and the PBS Video app.
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POV films and projects have won 45 Emmy Awards, 26 George Foster Peabody Awards, 15 Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Awards, three Academy Awards and the first-ever George Polk Documentary Film Award. Learn more at pbs.org/pov and follow @povdocs on social media.
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