Sunday, December 30, 2007

The Business of Being Born

Film Screening followed by a panel discussion.The Business of Being BornSunday, January 06, 2008 $10-$20 sliding scale - 7pmAt La Peña Cultural Center, 3105 Shattuck Ave, Berkeley 510-849-2568For more information please contact: Eva Goodfriend-Reano 510-225-5615or LaPeña's Fernando @ 510-849-2568 x 15 or <>

Birth: it's a miracle. A rite of passage. A natural part of life. But more than anything, birth is a business. Compelled to find answers after a disappointing birth experience with her first child, actress Ricki Lake recruits filmmaker Abby Epstein to examine and question the way American women have babies.

The film interlaces intimate birth stories with surprising historical, political and scientific insights and shocking statistics about the current maternity care system. When director Epstein discovers she is pregnant during the making of the film, the journey becomes even more personal. Should most births be viewed as a natural life process, or should every delivery be treated as a potentially catastrophic medical emergency? The Buisness of Being Born makes a compelling argument for more humanistic approaches to birth, challenging ideals of our technocratic society which places absolute faith in machines and technology.

Director's Statement

When my friend Ricki Lake approached me about making this film, I admitted to her that I was afraid to even witness a woman giving birth, let alone film one. I had never pronounced the word "midwifery" and I thought Ricki insane, as she planned the birth of her second child, for passing up an epidural in a hospital delivery.

But as I did the research, I discovered that the business of being born is another infuriating way medical traditions and institutions - hospitals and insurance companies - actually discourage choice and even infringe on parents' intimate rites, ultimately obstructing the powerful natural connection between mother and newborn child.

As I began to shoot the film, I saw that nowhere does the tension between technology and nature play out more dramatically than birth. The film became an unexpectedly personal journey when I hesitantly turned the camera on my own pregnancy and became my own subject. Initially making choices based on faith and intuition, I had to contend firsthand with all the issues and politics I had been exploring from a comfortable distance, until my choices were put to the ultimate test. The birth of my child and this film will remain forever intertwined, and both continue to surprise and thrill me every day. Abby Epstein, April 2007

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