The subject of abortion will probably never be discussed without a cloud of self-righteousness weighing down the conversation. The court case Roe v. Wade can hardly be mentioned without tempers flaring and emotions immediately locking into a defensive stance. Late-term abortions, themselves the apex of controversies within controversies, have multiple times been the source of motivation behind the assassination of doctors practicing the procedure, which is now the subject of a documentary that will soon be getting nationwide distribution. Don’t expect this to end with a whimper.

According to Variety, Oscilloscope Laboratories has acquired the North American rights to the documentary After Tiller, the directorial debut from Martha Shane and Lana Wilson. After Tiller focuses on the practice of performing third-trimester abortions in the years following the 2009 assassination of practitioner Dr. George Tiller. Oscilloscope will release the film theatrically nationwide, to be followed by video-on-demand, digital, and home entertainment versions.

Regardless of personal feelings towards the subject matter itself, one can’t deny the power that an impassioned and objective look at the abortion debate has over audiences. Tony Kaye’s 2006 documentary Lake of Fire was extremely well-crafted and just as well-received, and After Tiller has all the makings to mimic its critical acclaim.

Tiller, who frequently used a bodyguard and a bulletproof vest while doing his work, had long been a target of socio-political activism since the 1970s and was no stranger to the legal system, though he was never charged with criminal behavior for any of his medical treatments. On May 31, 2009, TIller was serving as an usher at Sunday mass when he was shot down by activist Scott Roeder, who was later convicted of the murder.

Though this will be her first feature, director Martha Shane also directed the 48 minute documentary Make the People Happy: The Xylopholks India Story, which follows New York’s xylophone-playing ragtime-band-in-animal-costumes on a trip to India that doesn’t go as smoothly as planned. One wouldn’t think an abortion documentary would be her next project, but from all the positive early buzz After Tiller received from its Sundance debut, Shane and Wilson both have made the right choice.

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