Vessel (film)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Vessel film poster.jpg
Film poster
Directed byDiana Whitten
Produced by
Written byDiana Whitten
StarringRebecca Gomperts
Music by
CinematographyDiana Whitten
Edited bySimeon Hutner
  • Sovereignty Productions
  • in association with:
  • Fork Films
  • Impact Partners
  • Chicken and Egg Pictures
Distributed byFilmbuff
Release date
  • March 9, 2014 (2014-03-09) (SXSW)
Running time
90 minutes
  • USA, Tanzania
  • Spain, Portugal
  • Poland, Pakistan
  • Netherlands, Ireland
  • Indonesia, Ecuador
Box office$800 thousand

Vessel is a 2014 multi-national documentary film written and directed by Diana Whitten as her debut film,[1] focusing on the work of Women on Waves, a Dutch pro-choice organization founded by the Dutch physician Rebecca Gomperts in 1999.[2][3][4] The film's world premiere took place at SXSW in Texas on March 9, 2014. The film has been distributed by Filmbuff since 2015.[5][6][7][8][9]


The film focuses on Dr. Rebecca Gomperts' work with her organization 'Women on Waves', as she sails a ship around the world and provides abortions at sea for women who have no legal alternative. Gomperts meets opposition, but when each is overcome, she refines her mission and eventually realizes she can use new technologies to bypass existing laws. She trains women to give themselves abortions using WHO-researched protocols with pills, and creates an underground network of empowered activists who trust women to handle abortion themselves.


The film features Rebecca Gomperts, Susan Davies, Veronica Vera, Kinga Jelinska, Cecilia Costa, Gunilla Kleiverda, Myra ter Meulen, Margreet Parlevliet, Juul Brockling, Lizet Kraal, Margie Moore, Ivette Mrova, Annemarie van den Heuvel, Ana Cristina Santos, Sara larrea, Ana Cristina Vera, Paula Castello Starkoff, Manuela Luna Creciente, and Nondo Ebuela Ejano, with voice-over by Kinga Jelinska and Inês Rodrigues.


The film took seven years to make.[10]



Vessel was given a mixed review by Indiewire critic Eric Kohn, who wrote that "the hot button topic [abortion] begs for a more dynamic treatment."[11]

Awards and nominations[edit]

At the 2014 South by Southwest Film Festival the film was nominated for the 'SXSW Grand Jury Award' and won both the 'Audience Award' and 'Special Jury Awards' for Documentary Feature. At the 2014 Sheffield International Documentary Festival, the film won the Peter Wintonick Award.[12] At the Nantucket Film Festival, the film won the Adrienne Shelly Excellence In Filmmaking Award.[13]


  1. ^ Salum, Lorís Simón (May 13, 2014). "Whitten on Waves". Literal Magazine. Retrieved October 3, 2014.
  2. ^ James, Susan Donaldson (March 7, 2014). "Film 'Vessel' Follows Ship That Offers Women DIY Abortions". ABC News. Retrieved October 3, 2014.
  3. ^ Sacks, Pamela H. (April 25, 2014). "Filmmaker from Holden chronicles efforts to bring health care to women via high seas". Telegram & Gazette. Retrieved October 2, 2014.
  4. ^ staff (June 17, 2014). "Meet the Filmmaker: Diana Whitten, Director of Vessel". Nantucket Film Festival. Retrieved October 2, 2014.
  5. ^ Barker, Andrew (March 24, 2014). "SXSW Film Review: 'Vessel'". Variety. Retrieved October 2, 2014.
  6. ^ Silverstein, Melissa (22 September 2014). "Trailer Exclusive: Vessel Directed by Diana Whitten". Retrieved 30 September 2014.
  7. ^ Smith, Jordan (March 9, 2014). "SXSW Film Review: 'Vessel'". Austin Chronicle. Retrieved October 2, 2014.
  8. ^ Winston, Jaime (June 18, 2014). "Film Review: "Vessel"". Salt Lake Magazine. Retrieved October 2, 2014.
  9. ^ Lurie, Danielle (March 8, 2014). "The Women of SXSW: Vessel Director Diana Whitten". Filmmaker Magazine. Retrieved October 2, 2014.
  10. ^ Lurie, Danielle. "The Women of SXSW: Vessel Director Diana Whitten". Filmmaker. Retrieved February 10, 2015.
  11. ^ Kohn, Eric (March 9, 2014). "SXSW Review: Abortion Doc Provides Heroic Aid at Sea In 'Vessel,' But Is the Movie About Her a Missed Opportunity?". Indiewire. Retrieved September 30, 2014.
  12. ^ "Sheffield Doc/Fest 2014 Awards Announced". Retrieved August 17, 2014.
  13. ^ staff. "2014 Awards". Nantucket Film Festival. Retrieved October 2, 2014.

External links[edit]