“A Better Man” set for 2017 release

The National Film Board of Canada is coproducing Attiya Khan and Lawrence Jackman's film, with an aim to "reframe the conversation about domestic violence."
February 26, 2016

The National Film Board of Canada (NFB) is on board as a coproducer for the documentary A Better Man from Attiya Khan (pictured, third from left) and Lawrence Jackman (far left).

Announced in 2014 when actor/director Sarah Polley signed on as exec producer during a crowdfunding campaign, the doc follows Khan – a counselor and advocate for survivors of domestic violence – as she attempts to understand why an ex-boyfriend was abusive and whether he can be accountable for his actions.

Khan is a first-time director and has teamed up with veteran helmer Lawrence Jackman. She has interviewed her ex for the film, which will also feature discussions with friends, colleagues and loved ones who share memories of Khan’s relationship with the man and give perspective on what their lives have become since.

Production on A Better Man is underway in Toronto with Christine Kleckner (pictured, second from left) producing for Intervention Productions and Justine Pimlott (far right) producing for the NFB’s Ontario Studio. Exec producers are Polley, Kathy Avrich-Johnson, Janice Dawe and the NFB’s Anita Lee.

The NFB will release and distribute the doc in early 2017.

Khan’s Indiegogo campaign attracted support from more than 1,000 donors from 30 countries including musician Leslie Feist, author Margaret Atwood, labor unions and experts on men’s use of violence. The doc also received a Canadian Media Fund grant and funding from the Shaw Media Hot Docs Funds.

“The NFB has a long legacy of exploring vital stories and sharing them with Canadian and international audiences, as part of a broad public dialogue on the issues that matter,” said Pimlott in a statement. “This film can make a profound difference in the lives of both women and men and how we address domestic violence.”

“I know that making A Better Man will be painful for me,” added Khan. “It’ll mean talking openly about the abuse, seeing the person who hurt me, remembering the violence. But I know that this pain will be outweighed by hope ― hope that I will get answers to questions that have been keeping me awake for two decades; hope that the person who hurt me can be given a chance to redefine himself; hope that our conversation can be the beginning of a broader change that will prevent stories like ours.”

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