Share this project

Done

Share this project

Done
Filmmakers Ricki Lake and Abby Epstein will investigate our current and future choices for contraception in this feature documentary
Filmmakers Ricki Lake and Abby Epstein will investigate our current and future choices for contraception in this feature documentary
1,750 backers pledged $119,884 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

Sweetening the Pill - a documentary project video thumbnail
Replay with sound
Play with
sound

$119,884

1,750

The Guardian recently did an Op-Ed piece on Erika Langhart's heartbreaking death and shared a short video from Sweetening the Pill footage.

Indie Wire also shared Sweetening the Pill as a Noteworthy Women-Centric Crowdfunding Project to follow. We think so too!

The Wrap released an interview with filmmakers Ricki Lake and Abby Epstein as well as author Holly Grigg Spall on the impact they hope to make with this film.

                        Is this what your birth control will look like in the 21st century?

Ricki Lake and Abby Epstein, the duo behind the groundbreaking documentary "The Business of Being Born," are back again, but this time they’re investigating our birth control choices and whether women are getting the full story.

Last time we explored the lack of choice and access to information during pregnancy and birth. We shed light on the full range of options that were not as well-known or accessible. Similarly, we are coming into a moment where many women are seeking more holistic and empowering forms of birth control. 

We’re proud to say that "The Business of Being Born" is now considered a “must-see” for expectant parents, with fans saying it will “change everything you thought you knew about birth."

This time, we want to empower women with knowledge and choice when it comes to contraception. Let’s say it’s "The Business of Being Born: The Prequel!" After all, we spend much more time trying to avoid, rather than achieve, pregnancy!

We believe that the birth control pill was one of the greatest inventions of the 20th century.  But we think women deserve more and better options, not less of them. Hormonal birth control often dominates the conversation, but, like a hospital birth or cesarean, it’s not always the best choice for all.

During those decades when we’re trying to avoid getting pregnant, many of us seem to find ourselves settling for a method we’re not entirely happy with or switching from one hormonal contraceptive to another - from pill to implant to ring, for example - trying to find something that fits.  The ads and inserts give us long lists of the possible side effects, but it doesn’t make them any easier to live with.  Some non-hormonal options seem to have disappeared almost entirely (anybody try to get a diaphragm lately?) while more hormonal options have become available.

Women fought fiercely to get the birth control pill, but now we seem to be fighting to get off it. In 1960 the birth control pill was all about progress, but does it still fit with our values today? Do we look to the tech sector to take on the challenge of providing women with alternatives to the pill?

The book "Sweetening the Pill" by Holly Grigg-Spall revealed to us that women are ready to look beyond hormonal contraceptives.

Many are already choosing to explore non-hormonal options and find out more about their fertility. They're gaining body literacy and they’re using this knowledge to make informed decisions about contraception and their reproductive health.

This documentary will explore what technological and medical advancement might mean for birth control in the 21st Century. Together we will investigate, informatively and realistically, the next women’s health revolution.

The traditional entertainment companies that we’ve met with this last year have had concerns about touching such a controversial topic. However, we feel ignoring or sweeping aside the problems women have with hormonal contraceptives isn’t going to serve any of us in the long run.

55 years after the release of the Pill, we think birth control needs a second, and thorough, look.

We’re going to need your help and support in order to undertake the kind of uncompromising investigation that you have come to expect from us as a filmmaking team. "The Business of Being Born" was funded with private donations and we could never have made such a bold, impactful documentary with a company who relied on corporate sponsors.  

Whatever amount you can give, however small, will act as a vote of support for this project. You’ll be voting for you and for all the women, and men, in your life to be empowered to make fully informed decisions about how we manage our fertility and to have support in whichever choice we make. 

  • Please spread the word and share our campaign via social media and email using the buttons at the top of the page.
  • Use our hashtag #betterbirthcontrol to share your support for the project and talk about your experience and choice.
  • Write a blog post about your experience with birth control, start a conversation with your friends, ask your mom or your sisters what they think, talk to your partner about birth control.

Emmy Award-winning television host Ricki Lake is a pop culture icon who has built a career on her graciously candid sensibility and her authentic, relatable nature. At the age of 24, Lake became one of the youngest daily talk show hosts in history with the debut of “The Ricki Lake Show.” After 11 successful seasons, “The Ricki Lake Show” wrapped in 2005 but returned in 2012, garnering Lake the Emmy for Outstanding Talk Show Host. In recent years, she has channeled her nurturing spirit and drive for social change into passion projects that are altering the way society views birth, breastfeeding, childhood obesity and birth control. Lake’s legacy and perhaps her greatest love is her role as independent filmmaker, launched with her 2008 documentary, "The Business of Being Born" and 2011 follow-up series "More Business of Being Born."  Under their joint venture BOBB Films, Lake and partner Abby Epstein served as Executive Producers of the 2014 documentary “Breastmilk” and the upcoming, “The Mama Sherpas.” BOBB Films is also in production on two new feature documentaries: “Weed the People” and “Sweetening the Pill.”

Abby Epstein produced and directed the celebrated documentary "The Business of Being Born," with her longtime producing partner, Ricki Lake. The success of the film inspired Abby and Ricki’s book "Your Best Birth," and their follow-up DVD series "More Business of Being Born" was released in 2011. Abby made her film directing debut at the 2004 Sundance Film Festival with the documentary, "Until the Violence Stops" which premiered on Lifetime Television and received an Emmy and a Gracie Allen Award. Under their joint venture BOBB Films, Abby and Ricki served as Executive Producers of the 2014 documentary "Breastmilk," the upcoming "The Mama Sherpas," and are in production on two new films: "Weed the People" and "Sweetening the Pill." Prior to her film work Abby directed theater, helming National Tours and international premieres of RENT and “The Vagina Monologues.”

Holly Grigg-Spall is the author of "Sweetening the Pill: Or How We Got Hooked On Hormonal Birth Control" (Zero Books, 2013). Her work on women's health issues has featured in Marie Claire, Elle, Cosmopolitan, New York magazine, the Sunday Times, the Guardian, the Independent, the Washington Post and on BBC and CBC radio, amongst others. She also writes weekly for LadyClever.com. Holly is currently working on her next book.

Jennifer is a Los Angeles based director and actor. She is the co-associate artistic director of the Echo Theater Company in Atwater Village. She has directed numerous Living Room Series readings at The Blank Theater and is a mentor/director for The Virginia Avenue Project. As an actor, she has worked with The National Actor’s Theater, The Ensemble Studio Theatre, Rattlestick Playwright’s Theatre, Pandora Productions, Santa Monica Rep, The Echo Theater Company and Theatre of Note. She has done extensive work as a voice over artist and she has a BS in Theatre from Northwestern University and an MA in Counseling Psychology/Drama Therapy from the California Institute of Integral Studies.

Joining the team as our international development executive, Steve Hawthorne brings over 20 years experience in international business combined with a wealth of European and International media contacts and internationally renowned celebrity clients.

With experience running and partnering with international brands (from art to worldwide sports properties) Steve has nurtured relationships with various global charities; leveraging his ability to evaluate and develop market strategies to help achieve their goals.

Steve supports many charities through his celebrity relationships and international media contacts - connecting fans, corporations and public worldwide via social media. His relationships with high net worth individuals on both business and personal ventures are based on proven track records and trust.

His ability to manage the creative and production processes ensures that campaigns are delivered on-time and on-budget.

Katinka Locascio is a Licensed Massage Therapist, Labor Doula, and Fertility Awareness advocate. She is the founder Earth & Sky Healing Arts, a wellness center focusing on women's health and natural fertility in NYC. She lectures and teaches workshops on fertility awareness and women's health. More for information visit www.earthandskyhealingarts.com

Nicole Jardim is a Young Women's Hormonal Health Coach and creator of Fix Your Period, a series of programs that empower women to reclaim their hormonal health in a fun and sassy way. She has helped thousands of women from all around the world who are struggling with PCOS, infertility, amenorrhea, PMS and much more.

Rather than treating problems or symptoms, Nicole treats women by addressing the root cause of what's really going on in their bodies and minds. She passionately believes that the fundamentals to healing any hormonal imbalance lie in an approach that addresses the unique physiology of every woman. This is essential to reclaiming and maintaining feminine vitality at any age. Learn more at NicoleJardim.com.

Hannah Ransom is a certified fertility awareness educator that loves teaching women about their bodies and how a few simple-to-check signs can help them understand what's going on with their fertility and hormones and give them the ability to use an effective natural birth control with ease. She is the owner of holistichormonalhealth.com and loves digging into why birth control methods without hormones have been so vilified and getting women real information about the birth control methods they have access to.

While receiving a Bachelor of Arts in Film and Photography from Montana State University, Cassondra Moriarty got her start in film, directing her first short documentary Miscontraceptions. The film has played at two international festivals and was featured on "Life on Terra". Moriarty is passionate about using modern design and media to spread awareness of fertility charting. Her fertility educator training includes the Couple to Couple League and she is currently gaining FEMM certification. After spending 4 years in the promotions department at PBS, she worked with Kindara and their media team to make promos. Now, she is based out of New York City, where her and her husband are expecting their first child.

Eliza Epstein is an editor and educator. She began her professional career working on commercials and music videos, but is most drawn to the storytelling nature of documentary. Eliza is also a high school English teacher and Track & Field coach. She brings to this project her strong beliefs that education is the best form of empowerment. She holds a Masters Degree from UCLA and is currently pursuing a PhD in Education Policy at UT Austin.

Lola Lorber graduated from Oberlin College in 2013. She has worked on SNL, Orange is the New Black and several indies and shorts. When she isn't discussing birth control and body politics, Lola attends the William Esper Acting Conservatory, babysits, and leads Jane Fonda inspired workouts in her backyard.

Tessa Strelow received her MA from NYU in Media, Culture & Communication in 2015. She has previously worked at Fusion Film Festival, which celebrates women in media, as well as TEDxNYU, and believes in the power of media to tell often overlooked stories. Having studied representations of female agency in media throughout her program, she is grateful to be part of changing the conversation to focus on empowering and educating women about their bodies. She is so excited to combine her passion for women's health and body literacy with her background in media studies.

Risks and challenges

With your help raising the funds to get this film off the ground and propelling us towards completion, we will have made a huge and important step in bringing it to the screen.

Your generosity will make this project possible, yet we will still need to secure further funding down the line (an additional $400,000). The $100,000 we hope to raise with this campaign will enable us to begin filming and editing so that we can share our vision and secure the remaining budget from other sources.

Your backing will provide the funds we need to make this movie and act as a vote of support for this project, which is invaluable.

We are passionate and experienced filmmakers with a handful of significant documentaries already under our belt so we absolutely feel confident about getting to the finish line again and creating a film that will have lasting impact.

The only challenge for this campaign that we can foresee is the possibility that delivery of DVDs and digital downloads may be somewhat delayed. So please just know that all delivery dates on those are estimates. And that we'll be working hard to secure distribution and get those to you soonest! You will be notified and kept in the loop. Thanks so much for your support.

Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

Questions about this project? Check out the FAQ

Support this project

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $5 or more About $5

    You are too Sweet!
    For $5 you get our eternal gratitude, a thank you email from our team, and exclusive backer updates throughout production!

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    104 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  2. Select this reward

    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    Sneak a Peak!
    For $10 you get all of the above - thank you! - plus you'll be first to see a sneak preview online screening of the finished film.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    232 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  3. Select this reward

    Pledge $20 or more About $20

    Go with the Flo!
    You will get all the above - thank you! - plus a digital download of the finished film and our film ambassador Alisa Vitti's 4-Day Hormone Detox program.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    349 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  4. Select this reward

    Pledge $30 or more About $30

    Fertile Summer Reads!
    All of the above + a choice of either a signed paperback of the book that inspired the film - Holly Grigg-Spall's 'Sweetening the Pill' - or an ebook, with an additional recommended reading list compiled by the author. You will also get the HER fertility ebook, from our film advisor Hannah Ransom.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    443 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  5. Reward no longer available

    Pledge $40 or more About $40

    FAM-Tastic
    Immerse yourself in a unique online video course from our film ambassador Leilani Wong Navar, a Justisse Method instructor, which will give you an exclusive introduction in learning this form of Fertility Awareness (a $35 Value). It'll teach you everything you need to know to start charting. Plus you'll receive a care package from film ambassador Maxim's hygiene line of organic and natural menstrual care products.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Reward no longer available 100 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  6. Select this reward

    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    Breeders Package
    A digital download of the finished film + digital downloads of Ricki Lake and Abby Epstein's doc "The Business of Being Born" + all 4 films in the "More Business of Being Born" series (a $45 Value.)

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Limited 142 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  7. Select this reward

    Pledge $60 or more About $60

    The Mother Lode
    DVD of "The Business of Being Born," Special Edition DVD of "Breastmilk," Boxed DVD set of all four episodes of "More Business of Being Born," Moby Knot Hat for ages 0-6 months in your choice of color, Paperback copy of Your Best Birth by Ricki Lake and Abby Epstein & The National Guide to a Healthy Birth ($70 Value) PLUS Everything listed in reward levels 1-3.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    55 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  8. Reward no longer available

    Pledge $75 or more About $75

    Eco-Sexy!
    You get access to a unique online audio course “Green your birth control in 30 days” from our Canadian film ambassadors the Red Tent Sisters, Amy and Kim Sedgwick (a $97 value).

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Reward no longer available 20 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  9. Select this reward

    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    Find your Balance!
    Digital download of the finished film + special access to join the "STP Kickstart E-Course," led by our film advisor Nicole Jardim. Nicole will take you through an easy 3-step guide to the fundamental building blocks for optimal hormonal health! ($147 Value)

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Limited 86 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  10. Reward no longer available

    Pledge $150 or more About $150

    OvaTemp!
    This exclusive reward is only available for 2 lucky backers. Get pregnant faster (or not!) with the ONDO Bluetooth Basal Thermometer that automatically syncs with the Ovatemp Tracking App. ($80 Value) And add to this reward EVERYTHING offered in Rewards 1-6!

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Reward no longer available 2 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  11. Select this reward

    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    The "Go-Ricki" Package!
    See a special Tweet, Instagram post and Facebook shout out from Ricki. She will also follow you on the social media platform of your preference (for a year) and record you a personalized outgoing voicemail greeting.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Limited 18 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  12. Select this reward

    Pledge $300 or more About $300

    Future of Birth Control Package!
    Join the natural birth control movement by learning how to use this 99.6% effective, hormone-free method. Get started with an introductory course led by renowned Fertility Awareness Method expert and film advisor Hannah Ransom. You will also get Wink by Kindara – an advanced Bluetooth fertility thermometer that syncs your data to your smartphone app, featured in our Kickstarter campaign video. (Wink retails for $129 and ships in October. FAM course valued at $199 and will take place in July 2015.)

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 16 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  13. Select this reward

    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    You're a star!
    Seriously, start picking out your outfit because you and a guest are invited to the (New York or Los Angeles) premiere of the film. Plus we will be thanking you in the onscreen film credits, a signed DVD and a personal shout out of thanks on Twitter and Facebook.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Limited 24 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  14. Select this reward

    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    Ready for your Close Up?
    We are blown away by your kindness and support for this film. We want to offer you the opportunity to share your (or a friend’s) story or experience with hormonal birth control. The story will either be featured in the movie or on the film's website. You will be thanked in the onscreen film credits + we'd also like to offer you 2 tickets to the film's premiere (NY or LA) and a signed DVD.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 9 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  15. Select this reward

    Pledge $5,000 or more About $5,000

    Our Treat!
    We want to invite you to a dinner with Abby and Ricki in NYC or LA, plus gift you two tickets to the premiere and the after party. You'll receive a thank you in the film credits, as well as 2 signed DVDS.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 2 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  16. Select this reward

    Pledge $10,000 About $10,000

    Mr. or Mrs. Producer!
    ASSOCIATE PRODUCER credit on the film + 4 tickets to the premiere in NYC or LA + invite to AFTER PARTY + 2 signed DVDS

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 2 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.

Funding period

- (30 days)