Center Film Festival documentary discusses the choice not to have children | Progress News
PHILIPSBURG – The Centre’s third annual film festival, which runs through Sunday, features more than 80 films covering a variety of topics in the region.
Therese Shechter, director of “My So-Called Selfish Life” and founder of production company Trixie Films, will be at a live streaming session today at 3:30 pm. Her film explores social expectations for women to have children, and Shechter confronts her own decision to be childless throughout the film.
The idea for the project arose after a friend, Anne Kingston, received negative feedback for her article on women choosing not to have children. At the time, Kingston, who died last year, suggested that Shechter make a film on the subject.
“I wasn’t quite ready to talk about it publicly yet,” Shechter said, “and then, about five or six years ago, there was this explosion of conversations online.”
Seeking more information on the issues and the people involved, Shechter sent out a survey. The response was overwhelming, nearly 2,000 responses in a week.
“There were so many responses from people who really wanted to talk about it and wanted others to talk about it in a public way. So it was clear that I was ready to do it, ”she said. The film premiered in 2021.
Over the past few years, people have become more aware of the conversations about women not having children. Whenever he works on a documentary, Shechter always wonders if the topic will be irrelevant once the project is finished. However, this has never been a problem.
“I think people need the conversation more than ever, especially if they are in an area that has absolutely no tolerance for deviating from the nuclear family plan,” she said. “It’s the kind of thing we should talk about more, but I think we’re going to talk about it for quite a while.”
In the film, Shechter interviews her mother, whom she considers to be a feminist model. Growing up, she spoke with her mother about the topic of childlessness.
“The conversations we had in the movie really grew out of conversations we’ve had all my life growing up. I didn’t expect it to be so intense in front of a camera because, again, she wasn’t really talking about something that I didn’t already know, but there is something in the privacy of talk about it that way, ”Shechter mentioned.
One element to look for throughout the film is the image of the storks. During his research, Shechter found postcards of storks, a symbol of childbirth, chasing women. The filmmaker encourages viewers to pay attention to the storks in the credits.
The film is available through the film festival as a virtual screening. This year’s film festival is a hybrid, so some screenings are in person while others are not. Shechter discussed the impact of the pandemic on filmmakers.
“I don’t like virtually screening,” Shechter said. “The beautiful thing about film festivals is being there, meeting other filmmakers, meeting your audience and talking to people in the audience. It’s a very personal experience to be in a film festival, especially when you are just starting to show the film and it hasn’t been in front of that many audiences.
Shechter had great respect for film festivals in these strange times. She also noted that she had been invited for a live screening at the Center Film Festival. However, it was too difficult with his current projects and his travels. She hopes there will be more live festivals in the spring.
“I don’t want to criticize festivals for being virtual,” Shechter said. “We all understand. Every filmmaker gets it totally. But it’s just a lot more fun when it’s live.
To this day, Shechter does not regret being childless. She enjoys being the aunt of a few “particularly fantastic nephews”. She noted that others may not even have a choice to take this route.
“I’m really happy that I had the options open to me to make this choice because not everyone does. Because we don’t have full control over our bodies in terms of reproduction. We don’t always live in a community that is open to different ways of living our life and planning our future, ”said Shechter. “There are so many forces that push us to follow a specific path in our lives, especially as women.”
For more information on upcoming films, visit https://centrefilm.org/. There will be a variety of in-person screenings at the Rowland Theater this weekend. Patrick Fabian, a man with family ties to Philipsburg, will hold a talk about his acting career on Saturday at 1 pm after the screening of “Driver X”. Other virtual movies are available for those who wish to stay in the comfort of their own homes.