On a hot summer night 22 years ago, 18-year-old Attiya Khan ran through the streets, frightened for her life. She was fleeing her ex-boyfriend Steve, who’d been abusing her on a daily basis.
Now, all these years later, Attiya has asked Steve to meet. She wants to know how he remembers their relationship and if he is willing to take responsibility for his violent actions.
This emotionally raw first meeting, filmed by Attiya with Steve’s consent, is the starting point for A Better Man . The rough footage also marks a new beginning in Attiya’s own recovery process—as well as an important starting point for Steve. For the first time ever, he speaks of the abuse and cracks opens the door to dealing with the past.
Illuminating a new paradigm for domestic-violence prevention, A Better Man offers a fresh and nuanced look at the healing and revelation that can happen for everyone involved when men take responsibility for their abuse. It also empowers audience members to play new roles in challenging domestic violence, whether it’s in their own relationships or as part of a broader movement for social change.
About direction (Attiya Khan, Lawrence Jackman)
ATTIYA KHAN (Co-Writer, Co-Director) is a Toronto-based feminist, intimate partner violence survivor, and long-time advocate and counselor for abused women and children. Attiya conceived the idea for A Better Man in 2012, drawing on her personal and professional experience with intimate partner violence. Attiya has worked in women’s shelters in Canada and the United States, including running the Child and Youth Services Program at Transition House in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She also worked at YWCA Toronto, supporting the communications and advocacy team, managing a training program on crisis intervention, and administering the December 6th Fund, which offers interest-free loans to women fleeing domestic violence. As a writer, activist, and speaker, she has presented at numerous events and conferences related to domestic violence. Together with her family, she recently co-founded a YWCA Toronto scholarship program for domestic violence survivors.
LAWRENCE JACKMAN (Co-Writer, Co-Director, Editor) is a Toronto-based filmmaker. Over the past 15 years, he has worked on many award-winning films, focusing primarily on independent documentaries and dramas. He often works as an editorial consultant and has a long-standing association with the NFB in this role. Jackman has experience working at critical stages to creatively and structurally bring films to completion. Both as an editor and a director, he is interested in creative storytelling and pushing genre boundaries. In 2011, he directed How Does It Feel, a documentary musical about the importance of creative fulfillment that tells the story of a singer with cerebral palsy.
Awards & Festivals
- Top 20 Audience Award, Hot Docs – Canada, 2017.
- Official Selection, Doc NYC – USA, 2017.
- Official Selection, San Diego Asian Film Festival - USA, 2017.
- Docs&Teens Award, DocsBarcelona - Spain, 2019.