This Is Not a Love Letter Synopsis
“This is Not a Love Letter” is a video poem that celebrates resilience and community as one woman tells the story of her abortion for the first time.
The film travels in real-time through the raw and heartfelt reactions from her circle of friends.
About the Filmmaker
Ariel Zucker is the founder and co-CEO of CNT Productions, a production company that elevates underestimated artists to create socially charged content with a bite. She firmly believes that the most important stories are the ones we’re most afraid to tell and values collaboration above all else.
Ariel earned a B.F.A. with Honors in Directing from the John Wells Directing Program at Carnegie Mellon University, as well as a degree in Business Administration. Her work has since been recognized by Outfest, AT&T Film Awards (New Forms of Storytelling), NFFTY (Audience Award), Screencraft Playwright Competition (Special Mention) and American Black Film Festival, as well as Huffington Post, NBC Out, Parade, Glamour UK, Hollywood Reporter, People, Afropunk and Variety.
In addition to her work with CNT, Ariel is the Director of Digital Live Production at YEA! Impact where she coordinates virtual live events. She was the lead live producer of the 2020 Hollywood Digital Climate Summit, presented by Variety and NYU Los Angeles. She also worked with CNT, YEA! and Scriptnotes to present the #PayUpHollywood Town Hall, which garnered praise from The Hollywood Reporter and can be found on CNT’s YouTube channel. Their virtual events have included collaborations with Netflix, Disney+, NRDC, One Fair Wage, Sierra Club, Abaunza Group, Hovercast, and more.
More from the Filmmaker
Daryl Bright: “Listen before you judge. Educate before you judge. Think before you make assumptions.”
Ariel Zucker: “We want people to write a love letter to their own bodies. We were trying to plant a seed with this piece for people to kind of ruminate on something, and maybe it’ll grow into something more.”
Isabel Pask hopes anyone who views This is Not a Love Letter will feel empowered to come forward with their own experiences knowing they are not alone. For her, one thing rings true: “Resilience is so much about being able to choose joy despite everything else that’s happening. I shared that story with so many people, it broke up into a million little pieces to where my carrying of it is not so heavy anymore. If you trust people to help you carry those burdens, then you are going to feel lighter and own your story even more.”
The most important stories are the ones we are most afraid to tell— and I highly respect Isabel for the courage it took to tell her story. Until she approached us about this project, I had no idea that she had had an abortion. In conversation with my mom later, she revealed that she too had an abortion over 40 years ago. Despite evolving legislation, these women experienced fear and shame in the same way. That isolation is not uncommon. 1 in 4 women in the US get an abortion in their lifetime – and many never say a word about it.
We agreed that this shouldn’t be America’s best-kept secret anymore.
We filmed this short in 2 days with a skeleton crew. Close friends volunteered to listen to a poem; they didn’t know what they were going to hear. What you see in this video are authentic reactions documented in real time, realizing the hidden journey of someone they felt close to. You see people of all ages, races, and backgrounds identify with this poem and speak words aloud that feel like their own. You see dances improvised in the room, based on the conflicting emotions that arise. You see a real community growing closer in vulnerability.
While these words were carefully crafted, these moments were found and sculpted. We hope you can find yourselves in these words, too.
Production Company: CNT Productions (www.cntproductions.com)
Produced by: Daryl Paris Bright, Isabel Pask, Ariel Zucker
Composer: Linda Diaz
Assistant Director: Ginnie House
Starring: Isabel Pask
Daryl Paris Bright
Christina Mei Chen
Ariel Leigh Cicero
María José Zuniga
Live Sound Mixer: Minagi Tanaka
Production Assistants: Brianna McAdoo, Paula Zucker
Assistant Editors: Isabel Pask, Ash Sekercioglu
Colorist: Ariel Leigh Cicero
Sound Designer: Kristin Catuogno
Spanish Subtitles: María José Zuniga
Special Thanks: Planned Parenthood, Jack Dentinger, Ryan McWilliams, The Pask Family, Eric Wiegand, Paula Zucker