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Mothers of Bedford
A film by Jenifer McShane
US, 2011, 96 minutes, Color, DVD
Order No. W131109
 Women are the fastest-growing U.S. prison population today. Eighty percent are mothers of school-age children. Jenifer McShane's absorbing documentary gives human dimensions to these rarely reported statistics, taking us inside Bedford Hills Correctional Facility, a maximum security prison north of New York City. Shot over four years, MOTHERS OF BEDFORD follows five women - of diverse backgrounds and incarcerated for different reasons- in dual struggles to be engaged in their children's lives and become their better selves. It shows how long-term sentences affect mother-child relationships and how Bedford's innovative Children's Center helps women maintain and improve bonds with children and adult relatives awaiting their return. Whether it be parenting's normal frustrations to celebrating a special day, from both inside and out of the prison walls, this moving film provides unprecedented access to a little known, rarely shown, community of women.


Hot Docs Canadian International Film Festival, Best Documentary
Social Justice Film Festival, Director's Choice Award

  • ReFRAME Film Festival
  • Flagstaff Mountain Film Festival
  • Film Society of Lincoln Center

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    3 1/2 stars..."Offering a thought-provoking look at an effective social program, this is recommended."
    Video Librarian

    "Confronts crucial issues facing the American criminal justice system. . . . also demonstrates . . . the courageous steps toward redemption taken by the MOTHERS OF BEDFORD."
    John H. Biaggi
    Human Rights Watch Film Festival

    "A compelling documentary that follows five extraordinary women. . . .A deeply moving story about these women, their journey and what it means to be a mother."
    Hot Docs International Film Festival

    "The film encourages children and parents involved in the system to take hold of their own narrative and not deny it or demonize it."
    Jenny Crawford, LMSW
    Columbia University School of Social Work

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    Mothers of Bedford is included in the following Special Collections.
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WMM offers film collections on a variety of specific subject areas, including the collections VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN: Ending the Silence, BODY IMAGE, and AFRICAN-AMERICAN: Celebrate the Lives of African-American Women.

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Women Make Movies is a multicultural, multiracial, non-profit media arts organization which facilitiates the production, promotion, distribution, and exhibition of independent films and videotapes by and about women. contact us