OFFICIAL SITE for 'Maverick Mother', a documentary about choosing single motherhood, by Janet Merewether.
'At 39, Janet's biological clock was chiming a deafening 'tic-toc'. A film about single motherhood by choice and the contemporary role of the father.'
WINNER - Best Australian Documentary
General Catergory ATOM Awards 2008
WINNER - Best Australian Documentary
Human Interest Catergory ATOM Awards 2008
WINNER - Audience Award TIDF Taiwan Int'l
Documentary Festival 2008
WINNER - Jury Special Mention TIDF Taiwan Int'l Documentary Festival 2008
Written, Directed and Produced by
Produced by Screen Culture Pty Limited
52 minute documentary ©2007
SBS Independent, the Film
Finance Corporation and the New South
Wales Film and Television Office.
Tired of waiting for the perfect partner, and alarmed by the deafening tic-toc of her biological clock, 39-year-old filmmaker Janet Merewther decides to take life into her own hands and embark on a journey into the new social phenomenon of solo motherhood by choice.
Maverick Mother. Tired of waiting for the perfect partner, and alarmed by the deafening tic-toc of her biological clock, 39 year-old filmmaker Janet Merewether decides to take life into her own hands and embark on a journey into the new social phenomenon of solo motherhood by choice. She joins a waiting list for a donor insemination program, but while waiting has an affair with a Swiss man and falls pregnant. After the birth of her son Arlo, her journey now becomes that of solo motherhood by chance.
Janet documents her medical and emotional experiences and the birth of her son Arlo, through personal and at times irreverent video diaries and performed studio reconstructions which rework the traditional image of the ‘ideal mother’, Darwinian concepts of ‘natural selection’ and definitions of the role of the father. The film interweaves observational video footage, including the birth, as well as constructing imagery from genres such as the horror film, which represent the public’s aversion to the visceral, messy reality of birth.
The film follows Janet and Arlo during their first year together. Along the way Janet films her own family, including her father, as she attempts to analyse the role of the traditional father and the nuclear family. What are the implications of an absent father for a young boy and what role will other men play in Arlo’s life? The film charts Janet’s attempts to contact the biological father, her eventual phone contact when Arlo is 10 months old, then her realisation and shock that Arlo’s grandparents are no longer living in Switzerland but are here in suburban Sydney. They then receive a surprise visit from Arlo’s father on her son’s first birthday, before he again goes into hiding. From an initial expectation of knowing no paternal relatives, Janet suddenly learns that Arlo has new members of an extended family. But will he ever meet them, and will the father be willing to establish an ongoing relationship with his son? Does Janet feel threatened or worried now that she may have to relinquish some responsibility and control over her son’s life?
Solo motherhood is now on the verge of becoming chic in the west, a sign of ultimate reproductive independence for women. This documentary taps into a very current and contentious debate about many women’s inability to find a suitable and willing male partner with whom they can have children.
The film interrogates the nature of ‘family’ in contemporary western society and contemplates the past, present and future concepts of solo motherhood, and the attitudes of women who, rather than being ‘left on the shelf’ by men because they are too smart, too funny, too ‘ugly’, too talented or too independent, embrace their own sexuality and fertility to immerse themselves in life’s greatest love and greatest challenge.
MAVERICK MOTHER WAS
DEVELOPED IN ASSOCIATION WITH THE
AUSTRALIAN FILM COMMISSION
PRODUCED IN ASSOCIATION WITH
SBS INDEPENDENT (SBSi)
THE NEW SOUTH WALES FILM AND TELEVISION OFFICE (FTO)
THE FILM FINANCE CORPORATION (FFC)
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