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Episode 16 - The Business of Birth Control with Abby Epstein & Holly Grigg-Spall

In this episode Iris sits down with Holly Grigg-Spall (the writer of Sweetening the Pill) and Abby Epstein (the producer of the documentary The Business of Birth Control, The Business of Birth, and more). They talk about about how this groundbreaking documentary was born and their ongoing activism and passion to inform people about hormonal birth control Topics covered:

  • Holly's personal story with hormonal birth control and how she decided to write her book

  • How Holly got to meet Abby and Ricki Lake and how they were inspired to make documentary about Holly's book

  • The making of the Business of Birth Control

  • What the documentary is about and how it's changing people's lives

  • The times we are living in how this documentary is so relevant now

About Abby Epstein: Abby made her film directing debut at the 2004 Sundance Film Festival with the documentary, V-Day: Until the Violence Stops, featuring Jane Fonda, Salma Hayek and Rosie Perez. The film won the Audience Award at Vancouver’s Amnesty International Film Festival and premiered on Lifetime Television, receiving both an Emmy and a Gracie Allen Award. In 2007, she teamed up with Ricki Lake for their widely acclaimed documentary, The Business of Being Born, which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival and was released by New Line Cinema/Netflix and broadcast on Showtime. The film’s success led to their follow-up series, More Business of Being Born, featuring Cindy Crawford, Alanis Morissette, Gisele Bündchen and Christy Turlington plus a book, Your Best Birth, published by Hachette. Next, the duo teamed up for Weed the People, which premiered at the 2018 SXSW Film Festival and won the Audience Award at the Nashville Film Festival. Weed the People was acquired by Netflix for distribution. In April 2022, they released The Business of Birth Control which premiered at DOC NYC and had played at Sheffield Doc Fest and Human Rights Film Festival Berlin. It opened at IFC Theaters in NYC. Under their company BOBB Films, Ms. Epstein and Ms. Lake produced the documentaries Breastmilk and The Mama Sherpas. Prior to her film work, Ms. Epstein directed Broadway theater, helming national tours and international productions of RENT and The Vagina Monologues. Website: --> you can watch the documentary here too Instagram: & About Holly Grigg-Spall: Holly is the author of the cult hit ‘Sweetening the Pill: Or How We Got Hooked On Hormonal Birth Control.’ The book was released in 2013 and has since become an underground phenomenon. She is a producer on a feature documentary inspired by ‘Sweetening the Pill.’ The film is directed by Abby Epstein and executive produced by Ricki Lake (the team behind the paradigm-shifting ‘The Business of Being Born’). ‘The Business of Birth Control’ is available now. You may know Holly from her Guardian Op-Ed on the pill and mental health side effects, which was ranked as the most-read comment piece of 2016. The story went viral, became a Twitter Moment, and as a result she was featured by the Washington Post and interviewed for NPR (to name just a couple). Vice has named Holly “the poster girl for a movement of women abandoning the pill in favor of contraceptives that don’t wreak havoc on their body and mind.” Holly’s work has featured in both American and British Vogue; she has collaborated on an article about the pro-period revolution with Alanis Morissette, and produced a piece on male birth control options with Mayim Bialik. Website: Instagram:

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