In spring 2019, Evan Rachel Wood approached director Amy Berg about the work she was doing for the Phoenix Act, a bill that extends the statute of limitations on domestic violence felonies from three to five years. Berg started following Wood for a year and would eventually capture the moment that the Phoenix Act was signed into law in Part One of her two-part HBO documentary, “Phoenix Rising.”

“I don’t want to speak for her, but I know it was very emotional for her,” Berg said in the Variety Virtual Sundance Studio presented by Audible. “I mean, this is like uncharted territory. She went to an attorney and said I wanna file charges against my abuser because I think he’s still abusing. And the answer was, ‘You’re outside of the statute of limitations. There’s nothing you can do except change the law.’ And that’s what she did. It’s quite a release, and it’s not just California. There are four other states now that are looking at this legislation. So she’s changing laws all over the country.”

Berg talked about her new documentary in a conversation with Variety editor-at-large Kate Aurthur. Berg discussed the experience of documenting Wood over the course of a year, and Wood’s decision to go public with allegations against Marilyn Manson, who she has accused of physical, sexual and emotional abuse.

While “Phoenix Rising” is a very heavy film, Berg said she hopes that it will be able to raise awareness for people suffering in situations of domestic violence, and assist them to find the resources and help they need.

“I want audience members to feel and know that their voice matters,” Berg said. “I want to make sure that people understand the issues so that they can feel that they have a resource, and we are offering some resources at the end of the film. We just wanna make sure that people understand that they’re not alone.”