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Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness


“…A highly amusing but incisive examination of the fight for reproductive choice.”

Time Out New York

Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness is a 13 min film that premiered at the 2003 Sundance Film Festival, and played at Planned Parenthoods across the country. In 2013, we re-released an updated version of the film. Unfortunately, not too much needed to change.

About the Film

Playfully updating the 1950′s school documentary, Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness offers political and social commentary on the state of reproductive rights. The film follows the fictional stories of a conservative politician, a young couple, a fundamentalist activist, and a Chinese dry cleaner, to illuminate the actual story of the insidious creeping erosion of reproductive rights in the United States.

Director's Statement

written after making the film in 2003:

Life, Liberty & The Pursuit of Happiness is a short film to highlight the rapidly evolving threat to a women’s right to choice. It aims to galvanize both the generation who have benefited from nearly 30 years of freedom and those who remember what it was like when it was criminal and dangerous for a woman to exercise control over her own body.

I have been making films since 1991 but this is my first activist endeavor. I originally wrote the proposal to make this film for Planned Parenthood Golden Gate after my increasing concern and frustration of the erosion of reproductive rights in our country. This film is my response to our current administration’s policies.

I was born shortly before Roe v. Wade and I know that our grandmothers and mothers fought hard to give us this right to make personal decisions about our bodies. Our goal with this film was to approach this intense, polarized subject in a new way. This film is both satirical and serious. We use humor and irony to open people up to this critical subject and enlist them in the important effort that lies ahead. We hope to reach a new audience and reinvigorate past supporters to continue to fight for this right. Hopefully, my daughter Odessa Simone (4-19-03) and her generation and beyond will have this right upheld without question.

                                                                                             - Tiffany Shlain


Directed by Tiffany Shlain
Written by Tiffany Shlain, Maya Draisin, Xandra Castleton
Produced by Xandra Castleton
Edited by Jennifer Steinman
Design/Collage Art by Gil Gershoni
Sound Design by Dave Nelson
Music Composed by Mark De Gli Antoni

A Grottofilms Production

Inspired by Ilha das Flores, by Jorge Furtado

Narrator……Liz Marks
Ashley Adams……Sarah Mueller
Chad……Marcus Berry
Bud LaCroix……Mark Pauline
Mr. Adams……John Newmeyer
Mrs. Adams……Nancy G. Heine
Mr. Lee……Sud Zhu Xu
Mrs. Lee……Rui Hui Li Xu
Lee’s son……Benson Wend Da Xu
Lee’s daughter……Tina Lee
Lee Grandchildren……Cory & Nicy Lee
Frog……Fred the Frog
Stunt Frog……Sam

No frogs were harmed on the set of this film

Cinematographer……Sophia Constantinou
Archival Images……Getty Images/Image Bank Films, Craig Baldwin,
Production Manager/Live Shoot……Katherine Zilavy
Production Manager/Distribution……Molli Amara Simon
Gaffer……Bill Basquin
Dialogue Editor……Jeff Darby
Foley Artist……Dian Langlois
DOLBY Sound Consultant……Dan Sperry
Make-up……Corrine Spingola
Prop Goddess……Rae Richman
Lighting Assistants……Peggy Kim, David Marbry, Jill Vanoncini
Research……Whit Morris, Marti Hearst, Jennifer Fogelman, Danielle Beverly
Opening Title Design……Golan Levin
Avid Digitizer……Christine Cannavo
Video Post Production Facility……E2 Editorial
“Lulei Lulei” performed by D’Yara Irina Mikhailova

This film was made Possible by Planned Parenthood Golden Gate


and the Generous Spirit of…
Dian Harrison, Kim Meredith, Quinn Delaney, Roy E. Hahn & Linda G. Montgomery, Gary & Laura Lauder, Nadine North, Laurie Patterson & Richard North Patterson,
Darian Weltman Swig


Founding Circle of Supporters:
Susie Tompkins Buell, Nan Tucker McEvoy, Yen Chuang Foundation, Gregory Gretsch, Jane Metcalfe, Marcia & John Goldman

Fiscal Sponsor
Bay Area Video Coalition

Finance Credits

Special Thanks

Ken Goldberg, David Munro, Leonard Shlain, Carole Jaffe, Kimberly Brooks, Jordan Shlain, Amy Gershoni, Sarah Varney, Charley Patton, Ari Wallach, Barbara Ely, Therese Wilson, Ina Gyemant Lillian Rosenthal, Josh Rosen, Joanne Winter Isa Hendry, Karen Keef, Ann Goldberg, Larry Hillman Adele Goldberg, Elena Man, Peter Kaufman, Chris Martin, Amy Critchett, Noah Hawley, Susan Hoffman, Dorka Keen , Joanne Winters, Jennifer Morla, Adam Werbach, Lyn Merrill, Kitka, Joel Bachar, Julie Burton, Dave Skaff, Amy Tobin, Anne Gyemant, Cate Reigner, Michael Vavricek David-Michel Davies, Jane Ganahl , Nathan Shedroff, Torryne Choate, Scott Balcerek, Laurie Blavin, Margot McGowan, Dan Geller, Dayna Goldfyne, DJ Polywog, Eiming Jung, Scott Compton, David Skaff, Cynthia Lohr, Jeanne Meyers, Michael Corey, Jay Capela , Andrea Dew, Noelle Colombe, Michelle Maine, Nancy Ganis, Zoe Duskin, Naomi Wolf, Marilyn Fabe, Arnie Baskin, Les Blank, Gail Silva, Gloria Steinem.

This film was originally made possible through the generous spirit of the following people:

Planned Parenthood Golden Gate
Dian Harrison
Kim Meredith
Quinn Delaney
Roy E. Hahn & Linda G. Montgomery
Gary & Laura Lauder in the honor of Marcia & John Goldman
Nadine North
Laurie Patterson & Richard North Patterson
Darian Swig

Founding Circle of Supporters
Susie Tompkins Buell
Nan Tucker McEvoy
Yen Chuang Foundation
Jane Metcalfe


The filmmakers extend their sincere thanks for their contributions.

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