If you haven't heard of this film yet, you are going to be hearing and seeing a lot more about it in the very near future. I was lucky enough to spend nearly an hour speaking to the director Scott Kirschenbaum last week, and what he had to say blew me away.
I have worked as a midwife for long time and I have met quite few men working in this wonderfully mysterious realm (deeply mysterious if you are a man who gets it, and by getting it I mean, knowing as a man that the best you can do, is watch the mystery unfold and reveal in her power), but sadly I have met few men who seem to get it, Scott gets it big time.
‘Let's make a film about one woman’ Scott says in the introduction he makes before showing a clip of the film to the Indie Birth Midwifery conference in 2017, he goes on to describe a birthing culture that has been deeply influenced by media depictions of women giving birth. When I watched the video of Scot speaking for the first time I wept. I saw how pervasive the patriarchy inspired story of birth has become. It’s hard to argue with Kirschenbaum’s analysis that the mythos of the masculine hero has been well covered by film makers in the past, super heroes and gladiators abound as the narrative of the male archetype gets expressed everywhere.
It is time for film that confronts the prevailing narrative and explores the power of woman. Here is the clip so you can watch the introduction for yourself:
Being a man working in the world of birth raises many an eye brow. Over the years I have been on the end of countless speculative questions regarding my choice of career; Am I gay? Do I like watching women in pain? Do I get sexual thrills from the intimacy of the examinations? Am I just wanting to exercise power over women? To be honest when Scott first contacted me I was suspicious, I wanted to know where he was coming from, and this may sound hypocritical I thought to myself, fucking hell, does the world really need a film about a woman directed by a man?
Who Is Scott Kirschenbaum?
Scott is an independent film maker who has trained as a doula, his passion for birth has developed over time having heard the home birth stories of a close friend. Having left film school he has spent his time making documentaries that focus on confronting the ways in which the narratives that we are familiar with are structured. The films he makes are rooted in the experience of those being filmed.
You can listen to Kirschenbaum speak about his personal journey regarding film making and how he came to film Of Woman Born here.
If we as birth professional are going to see true transformation of the institutional structures that women in this country currently give birth within, something is going to happen with regards to the stories that get told. This new film is a valuable contribution to the transformation that is desperately need in the UK and around the world. I am going to be doing every thing I can to support it being seen by the widest audience possible.
Without further ado here is the trailer:
update 06-11: The video below won't work for a while. Go see the trailer here!
I am excited about this film, and I am looking forward to an on going relationship with those involved with its production. I include in this blog a personal note from Scott himself.
My name is Scott Kirschenbaum, and I'm the director/producer of the new documentary Of Woman Born.
As a male doula, the B4P ethos definitely informed my work on this new film.
Now we are in the early stages of post-production, and I'm pleased that Mark has shared the trailer with you.If you find this project resonates with you, as I hope you will, I'd greatly appreciate it if you'd share details of the film among birth organisations and on social media.
Needless to say, I support the mission of Birthing4Pros, and believe "Of Woman Born" will be an inspiring and invaluable resource upon its release in 2018.
I am passionate about birth. When you have watched and listened to all that Mark has made available to you here to review and reflect upon, please do get in touch.