MOTHERS: OUT OF A PANDEMIC, 27min,. Canada
Directed by Shonna Foster
A look into the experiences of motherhood and womanhood for three women during the pandemic. The film centers on their challenges, learning experiences and growth during this time.
Get to know the filmmaker:
1.What motivated you to make this film?
I was surrounded by many family and friends who were Mothers and Fathers of young children during the pandemic.
In the thick of COVID, with schools being closed I was intrigued by all of the additional roles that parents, specifically Mothers were having to take on, by the anxieties that many 'Mothers To Be' in my life were experiencing, and by the strains on partner relationships and familial relationships that were occuring when families were confined to their homes 24 hours a day.
Furthermore, on top of their role, responsibilities and obligations as Mothers, wives, family-members, care-givers and friends and working full time jobs - many of the Mothers I knew were having to take on several of the duties that are generally alleviated when kids are in school. I wanted to explore the role of "Mother" and "Motherhood" during this time and to look at it from varying perspectives which is why I choose to follow three women living different situations. In the film we follow:
A widow who learns to navigate the challenges of raising three children under six years of age during the pandemic.
A pregnant mother of three, who goes into labor early and upon returning home with her premature baby, she must navigate the challenges of being a mother, wife, and worker/business owner.
A woman who is pregnant with her first child, and navigates missing out on some of the important experiences of pregnancy due to the pandemic.
2. From the idea to the finished product, how long did it take for you to make this film?
From the initial idea to the final cut, the film took over 2 and a half years to complete.
3. How would you describe your film in two words!?
4. What was the biggest obstacle you faced in completing this film?
The biggest challenge was scheduling. Because we were filming and cutting during COVID and lockdown, whether we were looking to film or meet or work on cutting, COVID and lockdown presented many challenges and constraints to seamlessly get everything done.
5. What were your initial reactions when watching the audience talking about your film in the feedback video?
I was deeply moved watching the feedback videos.
My initial reaction was a feeling of joy. I was emotional watching each video. At the end my heart was full as I thought about each person taking the time out of their day to take in the film - receive it, think about it and provide thoughtful feedback. I also took a minute to center on the power of film and how important, necessary and vital this art form is in this world.
6. When did you realize that you wanted to make films?
Probably around the age of 6 or 7.
Films were such an important and immersive part of my childhood and adolescence . I would say my parents and Grandparents were obsessed with the art form! hahah. I remember going to the movies with my parents & siblings, my grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles A LOT! And, having family movie nights every weekend - like it was a religion. As a kid, teenager and adult - watching/experiencing films has been a central part of my life experience and I'm grateful for it!
7. What film have you watched the most in your life?
Too many! I watch a lot of films on repeat.
Do The Right Thing, Friday, Ghost, ET, Moonlight, Heat, GoodFellas, Jaws, Before Sunset, Love & Basketball, Good Will Hunting, The Broken Circle Breakdown....
8. What is your favorite meal?
I really do eat salad everyday.
I love a good salad, a delicious bowl of pasta (the sauce is the key) and fried plantain to snack on...I could eat this snack every single day.
This would be my ideal meal hahah
9. What is next for you?
Well, I work as the Head of Development at a small production company based in Toronto which keeps me busy.
Yet, I somehow manage to juggle - quite well - both my job and my own slate of passion projects that I'm working on outside of my job.
The most active projects on my personal slate are....
A short film in financed development that I am writing and will direct.
A feature documentary I'm co-producing that is in funded development which investigates the rise of c-sections births in Canada.
A feature documentary that I am producing/directing that centres the life of an established living artist and his art form.
And, I'm also writing a narrative feature film - a coming of age story centring a young Black teenager.
As you know, making film (especially docs) are a process, and a long process. These projects that are 'next for me' will take time but that's the part I love.... the process and the journey, and getting to work with pretty awesome artists and collaborators!