About this project
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
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