Without Precedent: The Supreme Life of Rosalie Abella

At the forefront of Canada’s most powerful and controversial legal decisions stands former Supreme Court Justice Rosalie Silberman Abella. Appointed as a pregnant 29-year-old to the Ontario Family Court, she became the country’s youngest judge. Continuing to push boundaries, she eventually became the first Jewish female Supreme Court Justice when she was appointed in 2004. Having ruled on employment equity, same sex marriage, constitutional law, and many other landmark cases, Justice Abella is considered a human rights hero. During her years on the bench, she has consistently stood up for marginalized communities.

In acclaimed documentarian Barry Avrich’s adoring portrait, Justice Abella chronicles her childhood as an immigrant, her storied career, as well as her loving marriage to historian Irving Abella. The film also features intimate and forthright interviews with colleagues and friends, including Former Prime Minister of Canada Brian Mulroney, novelist Margaret Atwood, and writer Adam Gopnik, each providing a valuable look into Justice Abella’s unprecedented life. The late U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg once said, “If I have a Canadian sister, her name would be Rosie Abella."

Veteran producer and award-winning director Barry Avrich is the creative force behind Melbar Entertainment Group, one of the largest producers of non-scripted content in North America. Barry has produced and directed over 60 documentaries and filmed productions including the internationally acclaimed Made You Look, The Last Mogul, Prosecuting Evil, David Foster: Off The Record, Oscar Peterson: Black + White, The Talented Mr. Rosenberg, and has produced over twenty award-winning stage-to-screen adaptations of Broadway and Shakespeare productions including The Tempest with Christopher Plummer and King Lear with Colm Feore. Barry's best selling memoir, Moguls, Monsters and Madmen, was released in 2017. Avrich also built the world's first movie theatre in a hospital at Sick Kids in Toronto.


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