Lovesick

A hopeful look at one doctor’s struggle to help HIV+ patients in India find love and meet societal expectations by playing marriage matchmaker.
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Defiant Lives

DEFIANT LIVES is a triumphant film that traces the origins of the world-wide disability rights movement.
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Birthright: A War Story

BIRTHRIGHT: A WAR STORY examines how women are being jailed, physically violated and even put at risk of dying as a radical movement tightens its grip across America.
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On Beauty

From Emmy®-nominated IN THE FAMILY filmmaker Joanna Rudnick and Chicago’s Kartemquin Films comes a story about challenging norms and redefining beauty. ON BEAUTY follows fashion photographer Rick Guidotti, who left the fashion world when he grew frustrated with having to work within the restrictive parameters of the industry’s standard of beauty. After a chance encounter with a young woman who had the genetic condition albinism, Rick re-focused his lens on those too often relegated to the shadows to change the way we see and experience beauty. At the center of ON BEAUTY are two of Rick's photo subjects: Sarah and Jayne. In eighth grade Sarah left public school because she was bullied so harshly for the birthmark on her face and brain. Jayne lives with albinism in Eastern Africa where society is blind to her unique health and safety needs and where witch doctors hunt people with her condition to sell their body parts. We follow Rick as he uses his lens to challenge convention and media’s narrow scope of with the help of two extraordinary women.
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Learning to Swallow

Learning to Swallow is an intimate, haunting and ultimately empowering portrait of a bipolar artist’s courageous and successful attempt to rebuild her life after a suicide attempt destroys her digestive system. Patsy Desmond, a charismatic, emerging artist and “it girl” seemingly had it all: admiring friends and lovers, a prestigious work assignment with an internationally renowned artist in New York City and the potential to successfully realize her dreams in the art world. Yet in spite of this, Patsy struggled in an ongoing battle with bipolar disorder. An eventual failed suicide attempt leaves Patsy unable to swallow and in a battle for her life both emotionally and physically. Over four rocky years, we follow Patsy as she struggles to accept her physical condition, overcome addiction and learns to deal with the life she now faces: recovery and healing. Her inability to eat and her emotional state transform her artistic voice in the process. Filmmaker Danielle Beverly (OLD SOUTH) captures Patsy’s raw honesty and wit even as she becomes increasingly frail. By the end of the film, hope and an undying spirit prevail. Patsy renews her pact with art and life. Required viewing for psychology courses and studies around mental health.
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The Motherhood Archives

Archival montage, science fiction and an homage to 1970s feminist filmmaking are woven together to form this haunting and lyrical essay film excavating hidden histories of childbirth in the twentieth century. After several years of buying films online and working in historical archives, award-winning filmmaker Irene Lusztig amassed an unusual and fascinating collection of found footage aimed at teaching women how to be pregnant, give birth, and look after babies, along with training films for obstetricians and health care professionals, and a handful of home movies. Assembling her extraordinary trove from over 100 different sources, including newly rediscovered Soviet and French childbirth material tracing the evolution of Lamaze, THE MOTHERHOOD ARCHIVES inventively untangles the complex, sometimes surprising genealogies of maternal education. This extraordinary achievement illuminates our changing narratives of maternal success and failure while raising important questions about our social and historical constructions of motherhood.
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The LuLu Sessions

Unlike anyone you've ever met, LuLu is a hard-living, chain-smoking rebel with a tender heart; poet with a potty mouth; farm girl; former cheerleader; world-class biochemistry pioneer; and beloved professor. Aka Dr. Louise Nutter, she has just discovered a new anti-cancer drug when, at 42, she learns she has terminal breast cancer. Reminiscent of Peter Friedman and Tom Joslin’s SILVERLAKE LIFE, THE LULU SESSIONS, via video diary, records the journey S. Casper Wong shared with her mentor, best friend, and on-again-off-again lover over the last 15 months before LuLu died. Her compelling film chronicles how the two women test the limits of their bond and take on life's ultimate adventure, shedding old presumptions and values while adopting new ones in the process. Reflective, intensely honest, and surprisingly humorous, this unforgettable documentary makes life’s last journey accessible in ways rarely seen before on screen.
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Service: When Women Come Marching Home

Women make up 15 percent of today's military. That number is expected to double in 10 years. SERVICE highlights the resourcefulness of seven amazing women who represent the first wave of mothers, daughters and sisters returning home from the frontless wars of Iraq and Afghanistan. Portraying the courage of women veterans as they transition from active duty to their civilian lives, this powerful film describes the horrific traumas they have faced, the inadequate care they often receive on return, and the large and small accomplishments they work mightily to achieve. These are the stories we hear about from men returning from war, but rarely from women veterans. Through compelling portraits, we watch these women wrestle with prostheses, homelessness, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Military Sexual Trauma. The documentary takes the audience on a journey from the deserts of Afghanistan and Iraq to rural Tennessee and urban New York City, from coping with amputations, to flashbacks, triggers and depression to ways to support other vets. An eye-opening look at the specific challenges facing women veterans with a special focus on the disabled, SERVICE can be used for courses in military studies, women’s studies, peace and conflict courses and veteran support groups.
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Scarlet Road

Impassioned about freedom of sexual expression, Australian sex worker Rachel Wotton specializes in a long overlooked clientele— people with disabilities. Working in New South Wales—where prostitution is legal— Rachel’s philosophy is that human touch and sexual intimacy can be the most therapeutic aspects to our existence. Indeed, she is making a dramatic impact on the lives of her customers, many of whom are confined to wheelchairs or cannot speak or move unaided. Through her graduate studies and her nonprofit group Touching Base, Rachel both fights for the rights of sex workers and promotes awareness and access to sexual expression for the disabled through sex work—and brings together these two often marginalized groups. We follow her from conducting sex and disability workshops to speaking to the World Congress on Sexual Health about her mission to observing her overnight stays with severely disabled clients who blossom under her attention—with one man even gaining back lost movement and sensation thanks to his time spent with her. Rachel has made it her life’s work to end the stigma surrounding these populations; the depth, humor and passion in this positive and pro-active documentary will transform the way we see sex workers and people with disabilities forever.
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Duhozanye: A Rwandan Village of Widows

During the 1994 genocidal campaign that claimed the lives of an estimated 800,000 Rwandans and committed atrocities against countless others, Daphrose Mukarutamu, a Tutsi, lost her husband and all but two of her 11 children. In the aftermath she considered suicide. But instead, she took in 20 orphans and started Duhozanye, an association of Tutsi and Hutu widows who were married to Tutsi men. This powerful documentary by award-winning Norwegian director Karoline Frogner recounts the story of Duhozanye’s formation and growth - from a support group of neighbors who share their traumatic experiences, rebuild their homes, and collect and bury their dead, to an expanding member-driven network that advances the empowerment of Rwandan women. Featuring first-person accounts by Daphrose and other Duhozanye widows, the film shows association members helping women victims of rape and HIV/AIDS, running small businesses and classes in gender violence prevention, and taking part in national reconciliation through open-air people’s courts where they can face, and often forgive, their loved ones’ killers.
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Latching On

After filmmaker Katja Esson’s sister gave birth in Germany, she was able to breastfeed her baby anywhere and at any time. Returning home to New York, Esson found that breastfeeding was rarely practiced and largely unseen. Academy Award® Nominee Esson (Ferry Tales) turned her quirky eye on the subject and set out to learn why this was so. Her wide-ranging, frequently funny documentary highlights the intersecting economic, social, and cultural forces that have helped replace mother’s milk with formula produced by a billion dollar industry, and reveals the challenges and rewards for women who buck the trend. Latching On draws on lively first-hand accounts from mothers of diverse ethnicities and economic backgrounds, as well as candid observations by pediatricians, healthcare providers, lactation specialists, and the proprietor of New York’s first breastfeeding boutique. Including data about paid maternity leave, hospital post-delivery policies, and workplace accommodations for nursing mothers, the film compares current US practices with standards adopted elsewhere. Tensions around public breastfeeding and "breast is best" promotion campaigns highlight society's perceived interest in regulating women's reproductive behavior, as well as the power of culture to assign sexual and moral meaning to mothers' bodies. Entertaining and insightful, Latching On is an important analysis of the politics of breastfeeding, illuminating the complexities behind a simple, natural act.
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My Toxic Baby

This eye-opening, often amusing documentary by the director of Tiger Spirit, winner of Canada’s prestigious Donald Brittain Gemini Award, records the filmmaker’s quest for safe, sane and affordable ways to raise her child in a world embedded with toxic threats and still lead a normal life. Although new mother Min Sook Lee breast fed her daughter from birth, she used baby bottles too, only to discover that they leached a chemical byproduct linked to impaired health and serious diseases. This set in motion a journey that exposes hidden dangers in infant bath soaps, diaper rash creams, teething toys and many everyday products from an industry largely unregulated by law. For Lee, it also uncovers risks posed by our own homes and chemical contaminants we carry within our own bodies. Her search introduces us to others, including nursing mothers and parents helping to build youngsters’ natural immune systems, who are seeking alternative choices themselves and finding healthier, environment-friendly ways to rear their children. A personal essay that packs a punch, MY TOXIC BABY throws a spotlight on non-hazardous options that are available in our chemically saturated world, and further emphasizes women’s particular concerns about environmental hazards and health.
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Arresting Ana

Sarah, a French college student runs a “pro-Ana” blog, part of a global online community of young women sharing tips on living with anorexia. Valerie Boyer is a passionate French National Assembly legislator proposing a groundbreaking bill to ban these online forums, issuing hefty fines and two-year prison sentences to their members. Eye-opening and extremely timely, ARRESTING ANA is the first film on a burgeoning movement promoting self-starvation. Pro-Ana websites are in countries around the world, but France is the first to suggest regulating them. Combining in-depth interviews of medical and academic experts with video diaries by Sarah— for whom “Ana”, short for anorexia, is a support system, friend, and motivation to stay alive—ARRESTING ANA offers unprecedented access into anorexia’s hidden underground while seeking effective solutions to ending this serious disease. This well-made documentary, which features an engrossing soundtrack and pro-Ana sites’ shocking quotes and images, is crucial for students and teachers of media studies. It also provides important insight for psychologists, social workers, sociologists, and educators on who controls women’s body issues, how young people interpret eating disorders today, and how legal and free-speech issues are contested in a new media landscape.
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In Sickness and In Health

A deeply affecting film by newcomer Pilar Prassas and edited by Peter Heacock, In Sickness and In Health cuts through abstract ideologies, politics, and legalities to the human heart of the same-sex marriage debate in this amazing story of love, hope, and courage. In 2002, filmmaker Pilar Prassas began following seven couples in their effort to legalize same-sex marriage in the state of New Jersey. Two years into filming, however, plaintiff Marilyn Maneely, mother of five, was diagnosed with the incurable, terminal disease Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease. On the day Marilyn passed away, her life partner of 14 years, Diane Marini, was not even allowed to sign her death certificate. In traditional marriage vows, “‘til death do us part” is the phrase that follows “in sickness and in health,” but to many gay and lesbian Americans, saying these words and enjoying their subsequent rights is not an option. With a tender touch, Prassas delicately balances tragedy and triumph in this film about the civil rights issue of our time—the fight to marry, and care for, the ones we love, in sickness and in health.
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Quick Brown Fox: An Alzheimer's Story

Who are you if you can’t remember who you are? Ann Hedreen’s mother started showing symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease at the barely-old age of 60. Though it started with small signs—forgetting what she was doing and losing her way home—the irreversible disease would change her and her family's lives forever. Emmy-nominated QUICK BROWN FOX combines their moving personal journey with an insightful look at the science and politics of Alzheimer’s—a disease that now affects more than 18 million people worldwide. Devastated and angry about her mother's decline, Hedreen began an uncompomising pursuit of information about possible causes and cures, volunteering as a long-term test subject at an Alzheimer's research center in Washington and interviewing prominent doctors and researchers to gain insight into the politics of funding and stem-cell research. Interweaving these experiences with Super 8 home movies, 1950s medical films and heartbreaking interviews with her family, Hedreen’s film bravely confronts the disease that has mangled the mind of her once brainy mom, and raises profound questions about the importance of memories in defining ourselves.
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The Day I Will Never Forget

THE DAY I WILL NEVER FORGET is a gripping feature documentary by acclaimed filmmaker Kim Longinotto that examines the practice of female genital mutilation in Kenya and the pioneering African women who are bravely reversing the tradition. In this epic work, women speak candidly about the practice and explain its cultural significance within Kenyan society. From gripping testimonials by young women who share the painful aftermath of their trauma to interviews with elderly matriarchs who stubbornly stand behind the practice, Longinotto paints a complex portrait of the current polemics and conflicts that have allowed this procedure to exist well into modern times. Demystifying the African tradition of female circumcision, Longinotto presents Nurse Fardhosa, a woman who is single-handedly reversing the ritual of female circumcision one village at a time by educating communities about its lasting emotional and physical scars. Also profiled are an inspiring group of runaway girls who are seeking a court injunction to stop their parents from forcing them to go through with the practice. Through their words the full implications of breaking with tradition are made clear, as is the incredible courage of the women and girls who risk social ostracism by taking a stand against the practice.
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Amazonia

In this highly personal and visually evocative testimonial, critically acclaimed South Asian filmmaker Nandini Sikand poignantly presents her sister’s triumphal recovery from the emotional and physical scars of breast cancer. Lyrically incorporating poetry, experimental video and Super-8 montage, this moving piece looks at the myth of Amazonian women - warriors who were said to have cut off their right breast to become better archers - and compares their legendary battles to the war being waged against breast cancer. As Sikand’s sister reads passages describing her fight with the disease, the geography of her body is explored and compared to the scarred landscape of the urban environment. Traversing the pulsating and dizzying streets, the city and body become one to highlight women’s lives as triumphant urban warriors. Moving and inspiring, this short experimental film is a tribute to all women who have struggled with breast cancer.
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My Left Breast

“Every once in a while someone comes up with a film that sends us a clear signal that it's time to re-evaluate our lives. The film MY LEFT BREAST is not just for women living with breast cancer--it's for everyone.” – Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation. Incorporating a unique blend of wit, wisdom and resilience, filmmaker Gerry Rogers bravely recounts her story of breast cancer survival to share with the world that life, indeed, can continue with full force and vigor. Shortly after being diagnosed at age 42, Rogers began to document her ordeal on camera in an attempt to confront her own questions and fears about breast cancer. Rather than present a somber and morose meditation on this difficult experience, she decides to invoke humor to frankly reflect on the meaning of this disease on her life, as well as on the lives of her friends and family. The result is a one-of-kind approach to positively coping with a potentially fatal disease. Rather than merely chronicling how one copes with an infirmity, MY LEFT BREAST serves as a model for overcoming every challenge and obstacle in life with clarity and honesty. In the same vein as the most highly regarded films on health, such as COMPLAINTS OF A DUTIFUL DAUGHTER, this powerful film intimately embraces the emotional challenges of disease, demonstrates acceptance and, above all, affirms life.
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New Directions: Women of Guatemala

Part of the new generation of Mayan women, Maria Del Carmen Chavajay and Micaela Chavajay, are two sisters who head the Health Promoter Group of San Pedro La Laguna, a group of seventy-five women that provides health education and treatment in remote areas of rural Guatemala. In a region where doctors are few or non-existent and where the cost of medical care is prohibitively high, these dedicated women address the diverse health problems that seriously affect individuals, their families and the community as a whole. Expanding their efforts beyond the health sphere, they also tackle grave social and economic injustices facing Mayan women in particular and reveal how indigenous women are changing the conditions of their lives.
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The Children We Sacrifice

Shot in India, Sri Lanka, Canada and the United States, and screened in 18 countries, this evocative, visually powerful documentary is about incestuous sexual abuse of the South Asian girl child. By interweaving survivors' narratives, including the producer's own story, with interviews with South Asian mental health professionals, and with statistical information, as well as poetry and art, THE CHILDREN WE SACRIFICE discloses the many layers of a subject traditionally shrouded in secrecy. Insights into the far-reaching psychological, social and cultural consequences of incest are accompanied by thoughtful assessments of strategies that have helped adult women cope with childhood trauma. The film also analyzes social and cultural resistance in South Asia and the Diaspora to dealing with incest's causes and its effects on its victims. This personal and collective letter from South Asian incest survivors and their advocates is both a validation of their struggle and a compelling charge to protect future generations of children better.
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New Directions: Women of Thailand

In Klong Toey, Bangkok's largest slum, Duang Prateep, a foundation created and run entirely by women provides empowering choices and role models to the area's residents. Part of Joanne Burke's NEW DIRECTIONS series about innovative women in developing countries, this compelling documentary closeup of the women who carry out Duang Prateep's mandate centers on Rotjana Phraesrithong, a remarkable young social worker who first came to Klong Toey as a poor, ill-educated country girl of twelve. As it follows Rotjana in her work with the women and children of Klong Toey, the film reveals how her innovative programs promote schooling among the traditionally underserved community's children. We also see how the foundation's struggle against the spread of AIDS and other health problems is vigorously supported by housewife volunteers from Klong Toey. A valuable resource for studies focusing on the transformation of women's roles in Asia and on educational issues in the developing world, WOMEN OF THAILAND has useful applications for community-based audiences as well.
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Hózhó of Native Women

"Five Native American Women from diverse tribal backgrounds tell moving stories, from their lives and cultural memory that concern wellness — physical, emotional, mental and spiritual — and the connection of Native women through shared experience and cultural legacy. That legacy enables them to merge traditional ways of living and healing with contemporary life in this hopeful, heartfelt, and beautiful piece. Highly recommended for classes in Women's Studies, American Studies, Diversity, and Multicultural Studies." - Jane Caputi, Florida Atlantic University Sundance Film Festival
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Rachel's Daughters

From the makers of the Oscar-winning IN THE SHADOWS OF THE STARS, this fascinating documentary follows a group of women - all breast cancer activists who are fighting or have survived the disease - who are on a personal mission to unearth the causes of breast cancer. The result is RACHEL'S DAUGHTERS, an engaging detective story and detailed analysis of the science and politics of this epidemic. Seeing themselves as spiritual heirs of author Rachel Carson, whose 1962 book SILENT SPRING warned of the dangers of DDT exposure, they focus on issues including chemical contamination, radiation, and electromagnetic exposure to find breast cancer's causes. Addressing environmental racism, inequalities in research funding, and disparities in cancer rates for women of color, they track the effects of social biases on cancer incidence and health care delivery. Incorporating interviews with prominent scientists, documentary footage from high cancer rate areas, and the investigating womens' personal battles to stay healthy, RACHEL'S DAUGHTERS offers a scientifically rigorous and intensely affecting view of this growing epidemic. An unprecedented warning of the dangers of industrialization; it is an inspiring rallying cry for those working to change current views about women's health.
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From Bedside to Bargaining Table

This inspiring documentary looks at nursing from the nurse's point of view, encouraging healthcare professionals to work together to change their poor working conditions and gain self-respect.
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Prescription for Change

Nurses: traditionally female, underpaid, and underappreciated. PRESCRIPTION FOR CHANGE presents a rare behind-the-scenes look at nursing.
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Healthcaring

A classic chronicle of women's relationship to gynecology and healthcare, produced by Women Make Movies. In this bold and sensitive documentary, women of all ages and backgrounds speak candidly of their experiences with the healthcare system. HEALTHCARING documents the growing number of women who are questioning longstanding medical practices and working to implement alternative and more effective health care. The positive, warm style of the film encourages women to share their own experiences and gain a better sense of their right to receive better healthcare.
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Her Giveaway

Carole Lafavor (Ojibwe), activist, mother and registered nurse, is a person with AIDS. In this candid and moving portrait, Lafavor relates how she has come to terms with AIDS by combining her traditional beliefs and healing practices with western medicine. HER GIVEAWAY is more than just basic information—it is an inspiring example of how we can all learn from the Native American philosophy of illness. Produced by Smith (Dakota) for the Minnesota American Indian AIDS Task Force, this film confronts the “official” invisibility of women, Native Americans and lesbians with AIDS.
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Underexposed

Combining drama and documentary, UNDEREXPOSED: THE TEMPLE OF THE FETUS is a savvy and creative probe into high-tech baby-making. The fictional framework of a TV journalist who unearths the ethical complications associated with new reproductive technologies allows thefilm to present complex documentary information about this issue in a clear and insightful way. From the director of I NEED YOUR FULL COOPERATION.
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I Need Your Full Cooperation/Underexposed

In these two compelling films, Kathy High explores the relationship between women’s bodies and the medical institution. Now a classic, I NEED YOUR FULL COOPERATION (1989, 28 mins) is a critical commentary on the patriarchal medical world and the past experimental techniques used to control female sexuality and reproductive capacities. Combining drama and documentary, UNDEREXPOSED: THE TEMPLE OF THE FETUS, (1992, 72 mins) is a savvy and creative documentary probe into the high-tech baby-making market and emerging reproductive technologies.
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Dialogues with Madwomen

"I was always so afraid that someone would ask me (where I was when JFK was shot), and I would have to say I was in a mental institution", says director Allie Light. This moving and informative film features seven women--including the filmmaker--describing their experiences with manic depression, multiple personalities, schizophrenia, euphoria and recovery. Candid interviews are enriched with dramatic reenactments and visualizations of each woman's history, emotions, and dreams--the private symbols of madness and sanity. The social dimensions of women and mental illness are revealed in testimony about sexual assault, incest, racism and homophobia, the abuses of the medical establishment, family, and church. Acknowledging that "madness" is often a way of explaining women's self-expression, this film charges us to listen to the creativity and courage of survivors. Produced by the Academy Award winning filmmakers of IN THE SHADOWS OF THE STARS, DIALOGUES WITH MADWOMEN is a ground-breaking film about women and mental illness.
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A Healthy Baby Girl

In 1963 filmmaker Judith Helfand's mother was prescribed the ineffective, carcinogenic synthetic hormone diethylstilbestrol (DES), meant to prevent miscarriage and ensure a healthy baby. At twenty-five, Judith was diagnosed with DES-related cervical cancer. After a radical hysterectomy she went to her family's home to heal and picked up her camera. The resulting video-diary is a fascinating exploration of how science, marketing and corporate power can affect our deepest relationships. Shot over five years, A HEALTHY BABY GIRL tells a story of survival, mother-daughter love, family renewal, and community activism. Intimate, humorous, and searing, it is an invaluable resource for anyone interested in the relationship between women's health, public policy, medical ethics and corporate responsibility. A HEALTHY BABY GIRL was funded by the Independent Television Service (ITVS) with funds provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
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Cancer in Two Voices

“I’m the first among our friends to have cancer... Many will see their future in the way I handle mine,” Barbara Rosenblum wrote after learning she had advanced breast cancer. For three years Barbara had yet to live, she and her partner, Sandra Butler, documented their lives with courage and frankness. This stunning film provides a unique view into the intimacy of a relationship in a time of crisis. The two women talk about their identity as Jewish women and as lesbians, and they speak openly about the difficult issues each is facing: anger, guilt, feelings about their bodies and changing sexuality, about death and loss. Never once losing either its balance or its fierce emotional integrity, CANCER IN TWO VOICES provides a practical example of dealing with death with sensitivity and a deep commitment to living.
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Complaints of a Dutiful Daughter

With profound insight and a healthy dose of levity, COMPLAINTS OF A DUTIFUL DAUGHTER chronicles the various stages of a mother's Alzheimer's Disease and the evolution of a daughter's response to the illness. The desire to cure the incurable-to set right her mother's confusion and forgetfulness, to temper her mother's obsessiveness-gives way to an acceptance which is finally liberating for both daughter and mother. Neither depressing nor medical, COMPLAINTS OF A DUTIFUL DAUGHTER is much more than a story about Alzheimer's and family caregiving. It is ultimately a life-affirming exploration of family relations, aging and change, the meaning of memory, and love.
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On Becoming a Woman

This extraordinary documentary provides rare insights into some important health issues for African American women. Although it was produced before AIDS was a major factor for women, ON BECOMING A WOMAN deals candidly and constructively with teen pregnancy, providing in-depth information about reproduction, birth control, self-examination and sexual activity. Filmed primarily during the National Black Women's Health Project workshop sessions, this historic film also demonstrates models for trust and communication between mothers and daughters.
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The Body Beautiful

This bold, stunning exploration of a white mother who undergoes a radical mastectomy and her Black daughter who embarks on a modeling career reveals the profound effects of body image and the strain of racial and sexual identity on their charged, intensely loving bond. At the heart of Onwurah’s brave excursion into her mother’s scorned sexuality is a provocative interweaving of memory and fantasy. The filmmaker plumbs the depths of maternal strength and daughterly devotion in an unforgettable tribute starring her real-life mother, Madge Onwurah.
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