Fessler turned to the subject of adoption in 1989 after being approached by a woman who thought Ann might be the daughter she had surrendered for adoption forty years earlier. Though the woman was not her mother, Fessler - an adoptee - was profoundly moved by the experience. The conversation that ensued changed the focus of her work.
Since that time Fessler has produced three films, audio and video installations, and a non-fiction book on adoption. Between 2002-05, she conducted over 100 interviews with women who lost children to adoption during the 28 years that followed WWII, when a perfect storm of circumstances led to an unprecedented number of surrenders.
Fesslerís two previous short films on adoption, "Cliff & Hazel" and "Along the Pale Blue River", have won honors at festivals and have been screened internationally. Her book, "The Girls Who Went Away: The Hidden History of Women Who Surrendered Children for Adoption in the Decades Before Roe v. Wade" (Penguin Press, 2006) was chosen as one of the top 5 non-fiction books of 2006 by the National Book Critics Circle, and was awarded the Ballard Book Prize, given annually to a female author who advances the dialogue about womenís rights. In 2011, her book was chosen by readers of Ms. magazine as one of the top 100 feminist books of all time. (3/13)
A Girl Like Her
A film by Ann Fessler, 2012, 48 min., Color
From 1945-73, 1.5 million unmarried young American women, facing enormous social pressures, surrendered babies to adoption. Lacking sex education and ...