Draft:Working Mothers Series

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Summary[1][edit]

Working Mothers Series
Directed byKathleen Shannon, Irene Angelico, Anne Henderson, Joan Hutton, Louise Roy
Produced byKathleen Shannon, Len Chatwin
Music byGui Bernardes

Ted Haley

Ron Seltzer
Edited byKathleen Shannon

Gloria Demers

Elizabeth Joutel
Production
company
National Film Board of Canada for Challenge for Change
Distributed byNational Film Board of Canada
Release date
1974-1975
Running time
5 minutes - 15 minutes
CountryCanada
LanguageEnglish

As a part of the National Film Board's Challenge for Change program in the early 1970s Kathleen Shannon was asked to direct a series of 11 films. These films were to delve into the lives of women from diverse socioeconomic backgrounds all interconnected however by the same issue, that is being working mothers. These films that were shot on video were used to encourage dialogue through screenings that provided accompanying material to its live audiences and as a tool in a workshop.

Films Within the Series[2][edit]

Extensions of the Family: (1974, 14 minutes) This film is an interview between the filmmaker and Kathy, who is a Greek woman that was previously a nurse in Greece but moved with her family to Northern Alberta. She describes her vigorous schedule and the differences between being a nurse in Greece and Alberta. Directed by Kathleen Shannon, Produced by Kathleen Shannon.

It's Not Enough: (1974, 15 minutes & 57 seconds) This film is an overview of the social and economic realities a variety of women face working inside and outside the home, Directed by Kathleen Shannon, Produced by Kathleen Shannon and Len Chatwin.

Mothers are People: (1974, 7 minutes & 18 seconds) Joy, A research biologist, widow, and mother of two compares life in Jamaica to life in Canada and talks about her experience as a working mother. She also discusses how the absence of universal day care is a loss for children, too. Directed by Kathleen Shannon, Produced by Kathleen Shannon and Len Chatwin.

Luckily I Need Little Sleep: (1974, 7 minutes & 38 seconds) Kathy, A nurse talks about the difficulties she faces balancing the demands of children, husband, career, and work on the family farm, Directed by Kathleen Shannon, Produced by Kathleen Shannon and Len Chatwin.

Tiger On a Tight Leash: (1974, 7 minutes & 35 seconds) Cathy, A university department head and mother of three, talks about the problem of childcare and its effect on working women, Directed by Kathleen Shannon, Produced by Kathleen Shannon and Len Chatwin.

Would I Ever Like to Work:(1974, 8 minutes & 53 seconds) Joan, A mother of eight living on welfare talks about why she wants to work and the reasons that prevent her from working,  Directed by Kathleen Shannon, Produced by Kathleen Shannon and Len Chatwin.

...And They Lived Happily Ever After: (1975, 13 minutes & 7 seconds) A film that examines the gulf between romantic expectations and the reality of women's day-to-day lives, Directed by Kathleen Shannon, Irene Angelico and Ann Henderson, Produced by Kathleen Shannon and Len Chatwin.

Like The Trees: (1974, 14 minutes & 30 seconds) Rose, A Metis woman from Alberta describes her experience as a working mother in a predominantly white society and her discovery of her own culture, the Woodland Cree. Directed by Kathleen Shannon, Produced by Kathleen Shannon and Len Chatwin.

They Appreciate You More: (1974, 14 minutes & 42 seconds) Aliette, A working woman and her husband (Pierre) talk about the changes they have made to accommodate their two-career marriage. Directed by Kathleen Shannon, Produced by Kathleen Shannon and Len Chatwin.

The Spring and Fall Of Nina Polanski: (1974, 5 minutes & 56 seconds) An animated film about marriage, homemaking and one woman's struggle to regain a sense of self. Directed by Joan Hutton and Louise Roy, Produced by Kathleen Shannon and Len Chatwin.

Our Dear Sisters: (1975, 14 minutes & 40 seconds) Alanis Obomsawin, an Indigenous filmmaker, singer, and mother of an adopted child, talks about her life, her people (the Abenaki), and her responsibilities as a single parent. Her observations shake some of our cultural assumptions. Directed by Kathleen Shannon, Produced by Kathleen Shannon and Len Chatwin.

Significance[edit]

Studio D, the women's unit of the National Film Board of Canada, was the world's first publicly funded feminist filmmaking production unit. During its 22-year history, it produced 134 films, and won 3 Academy Awards. Cinema Canada once called it “The Jewel in the Crown Corporation.”[3]

Participants[edit]

Joy (Biologist, widow, mother) in Mothers are People, Kathy (nurse, mother) in Luckily I Need Little Sleep, Cathy (university department head, mother) in Tiger on a Tight Leash, Joan (mother) in Would I Ever Like to Work, Rose (a Metis woman) in Like the trees, Aliette and Pierre (parents and spouses) in They Appreciate You More, Alanis Obomsawin (filmmaker, singer, mother, activist) in Our Dear Sisters.  

Themes[4][edit]

  • Parenthood
  • Single-Parent Families
  • Single Mothers
  • Indigenous Women
  • Families
  • Working Mothers

Praise and Criticism [5][edit]

Adam Cook, from the Cleo Journal of Film and Feminism, stated that “Individually, the films of the Working Mothers series have unique value, but it is as a whole that they work most effectively, not just because of their scope but also because of how they strengthen each other.

External Links[edit]

Watch Our Dear Sisters

Watch Like The Trees

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Homeland Insecurity: Kathleen Shannon's Working Mothers". cléo. 2013-07-25. Retrieved 2019-03-26.
  2. ^ Government of Canada, National Film Board of Canada (2012-10-11). "National Film Board of Canada". Retrieved 2019-03-26.
  3. ^ Sherbarth, Chris (March 1987). ""Why Not D?" An Historical Look at the NFB's Studio D."". Cinema Canada. 139: 9–13.
  4. ^ Canada, National Film Board of, Our Dear Sisters, retrieved 2019-03-26
  5. ^ "Homeland Insecurity: Kathleen Shannon's Working Mothers". cléo. 2013-07-25. Retrieved 2019-03-26.