The Blog

Is Our New Film Poster For FREEDOM FOR BIRTH Too Shocking?

The film launches next month with hundreds of screenings around the world on the same day, Thursday 20th September.

This week we revealed the poster image for our new documentary FREEDOM FOR BIRTH.

The film launches next month with hundreds of screenings around the world on the same day, Thursday 20th September.

"Freedom For Birth" is a hard-hitting 60 minute campaigning documentary featuring over forty of the world's leading birth experts, lawyers, academics, doctors, midwives and campaigners all calling for radical change to the world's maternity systems.

The film re-frames routine violations of Human Rights as the most pressing global issue in birth today. In countries around the world, women cannot choose how and where to give birth. Their choices are not fully supported by the obstetric system. In more extreme cases of Human Rights abuse, women are subjected to forced c-sections against their wishes and midwives like Agnes Gereb in Hungary are imprisoned for supporting home births.

It's a tough subject matter and the film has the power to send shock-waves around the world. We wanted the film's poster image to reflect symbolically that this is an important Human Rights issue affecting all women, so we chose to show (non-pregnant) flag-waving activists walking across blood-red barbed wire.

When we revealed the poster on Facebook, we had a mixed reception from our core audience of midwives, doulas, birth educators and campaigners.

Many loved the powerful symbolism. One comment said, "unless we take birth back the wire will become even larger! Let's stir each other up and become powerfully proactive! We need to be the catalyst to make the difference for you, your children and theirs!"

Others wondered if the image was too shocking, too aggressive and even, perhaps too "masculine" - that the imagery should have been less about "the fight" and more about the beauty, strength and essential femininity of birth.

As the filmmakers and poster-creators, we agree. The poster image is deliberately shocking and aggressive. But for us, that's the point. If we are going to change maternity systems around the world, we believe we need to shake things up.

We have gone on a journey ourselves over the past few years. Myself and my partner Alex Wakeford were ordinary filmmakers but through our own difficult birth experience (a cascade of unnecessary interventions that led to an emergency c-section) we have turned into "radical birth warriors".

From seeing the poster and from seeing our film, we want to wake people up to the routine Human Rights abuses happening around the world. We want women across the world to take a stand, to say "No More". We want the film's release and its accompanying grass-roots campaign to become the Mothers' Revolution.

If it takes us producing a shocking aggressive masculine poster to help us achieve that, then that is exactly what we are going to do.

But what do you think? Is a shocking graphic image appropriate for a film about birth - a time that could and should be the most beautiful amazing moment of a woman's life?