Season of Passage
25% of pregnancies end in miscarriage. You probably know someone who has miscarried but never told you. It's too painful, embarrassing and awkward, but it shouldn't be. We grieve in silence just when we need compassion the most. It's time to open up this conversation so women see they're not alone.
Inclusion StatementThis film was written, directed, executive produced, edited, line produced, costumed, designed and composed by women and reveals a hidden women's story. Over 50% of the women involved in the production of this film are over 40 and are pursuing their passion of filmmaking despite age and gender bias.
About The Project
From the Writer/Director
WHAT? MAKE A FILM?
Three years ago, after a long day of filming, I rode the subway home with several cast-mates and crew sharing what they had done for Halloween a few nights earlier. Seated next to my then director (David Spaltro, this film's Associate Producer) I explained that while I tried to make Halloween fun for my children, it wasn't my favorite holiday. When asked why, I made a brave choice for myself. For the first time, I quietly shared the story of my miscarriage on Halloween 12 years earlier. I had never spoken those words aloud to anyone but my husband and doctor. He encouraged me to make a short film, which I quickly dismissed while realizing the thought terrified me. Not only had I never made a film nor written a script, no one knew of my miscarriage. Why would I ever want to share that, especially so publicly? Who would ever want to hear about it, much less watch a short film about it? Turns out more than I could have ever imagined. In her book, “Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar", Cheryl Strayed said,
“The healing power of even the most microscopic
exchange with someone who knows in a flash
precisely what you're talking about because she
experienced that thing too cannot be overestimated.”
ASKING & SHARING
I started sharing my story, asking other women if they had ever had a miscarriage or knew of someone who had, and if they would be interested in seeing this story on screen. I was truly stunned by the answers I got. I found out that several friends and complete strangers had experienced miscarriages and, they too, had never told anyone, except maybe one or two people. Women tearfully shared their story of pain, sadness, anger, embarrassment, frustration, guilt, gratitude, determination and their journey of moving beyond it. But the truth is they still carried the pain of loss with them and kept it secret. As we shared our stories, we felt oddly comforted, and relieved. As the secret came out, the shame and loneliness diminished. We felt listened to and understood. Men also expressed relief at being able to talk about how difficult it was for their partners and for themselves, and the challenging recovery afterwards.
LOSS IS LOSS
To lose a pregnancy, desired or not, is a painful, scary, lonesome, and desperately sad experience that catches you by surprise and leaves you mourning the loss of possibilities. After talking with all these women, I knew that I had to make a film to bring this story out of the shadows and challenge the societal code of silence surrounding pregnancy loss.
Mother to a middle-schooler, Cate has suffered secondary infertility for years--and now finds herself pregnant again. Having long given up on her dream of having another child, she grapples with this new hope. But when Cate suffers a miscarriage, she finds herself in the shoes of countless women, silently grieving a life that will never be.
When I started writing this story, so many questions came up. Societal mores warn us not to share our pregnancies until we are past that magic number of 12 weeks in case we miscarry. Does that mean a baby lost before then isn't valid? And if we aren't supposed to share our joy of pregnancy, the implicit message is we certainly shouldn't share our pain and mourning for the loss. Why do we feel responsible and blame ourselves? We feel so helpless wondering why it happened and can't help but think if only we had [insert reason here] maybe the baby would have survived.
WHY IS IT CALLED "MISCARRIAGE"?
Miscarriage is a misnomer! It sounds inherently like we did something wrong, we miss-carried the baby when, in most cases, there was nothing that could have prevented it from happening. The very word implies guilt. In reality, most miscarriages can't be prevented. 45% of miscarriages are due to genetic abnormalities, 50% of miscarriages are unexplained. Nevertheless, misguided beliefs persist and many woman wonder what they could have done differently. A better term for what really happened is "pregnancy loss" because it inspires empathy instead of blame and shame.
Furthermore, why did I feel guilty for wanting another baby when I already had a chld? Shouldn't I just be grateful I was lucky enough to have any children when there are women (including some of my friends) who suffer from infertility? As the story unfolded on the page, it was natural to address another seldom-discussed women's issue: secondary infertility. I struggled with this for over 2 years but like my miscarriages, I never told anyone. I even denied we were trying to conceive again. Secondary infertility accounts for 30% of infertility cases but many aren't even aware it's an issue. Even if you already have a child, when your body and mind say it's time to have another and it's not happening, desperation can set in. It is a frustrating, demoralizing experience coupled with the added guilt and judgment of thinking you should just be grateful for the child you already have. I was grateful, but I was also overwhelmed with an unexplainable biological urge to have another child. Knowing others were struggling to have their first child, I judged myself very harshly for this desire yet was haunted by the hope that wouldn't go away. This desire can wreak havoc on a woman's life and her relationships, yet is hard to shake. So imagine suffering from secondary infertility for years, finally becoming pregnant only to lose the baby? The story presented itself.
YOU ARE NOT ALONE
1 in 4 woman will experience Pregnancy Loss yet it rarely gets talked about. Women soldier on and grieve in silence. I set out to create a simple, truthful story about an outwardly normal day in the life of a mother juxtaposed with the reality of a miscarriage. Every pregnancy loss is different: it happens at work, at a birthday party, the grocery store, in the middle of the night, but every women has a universal experience of pain, blood, and ultimately, loss. I want women to watch the film and feel understood in a flash. When they are unable to find voice to share their experience, they can say to someone, “take 15 minutes out of your life to watch this film and then you might understand some of what I went through" or "am going through.” I hope sharing this story will encourage other women to share their stories, grieve their loss with support from friends and family, and see that they are not alone.
Please join us in helping this film reach the women who are silently suffering.
Color Correction Helps the Story Come Alive!
Before Color Correction
After Color Correction
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About This Team
Catherine Cobb Ryan - Producer, Writer, Director, and Actor
Catherine Cobb Ryan is an actor, producer, writer, and mother who loves telling stories and exploring human interaction of all sorts. Since studying with Bill (William Esper Studio 2 Year Intensive) and graduating from NYU, Catherine has had the good fortune to work on many unique projects on stage and film where she honed her keen sense of observation and story telling. She is excited to be stretching her skills, making a film from start to finish. Catherine is looking forward to seeing her vision come to life and hoping to help other women through her storytelling.
David Spaltro - Associate Producer
David Spaltro wrote, directed and produced his first feature film "...Around" in 2007 released through Cinetic Media online, VOD, and Netflix in 2009. His second feature film, the multi-award winning and critically acclaimed drama "Things I Don't Understand" he also wrote, directed and produced in 2011 and which was released in 2013 on VOD. He wrote, directed, and edited his third feature, "...In the Dark", a horror project for Seven Oaks Films and Intimation Productions in 2014. He is in development on a TV series, "Welcome to Hockey Town", a biopic of notorious rocket scientist and occultist, Jack Parson, and a dark comedy set in the world of the CIA.
Jane Renaud - UPM/Line Producer
Jane Renaud is a writer and filmmaker from Northern California. She is currently the Post Production Coordinator for Disney's "The Nutcracker and the Four Realms" and is in post production on her documentary "What I'm Made Of." Her fiction has appeared in The Texas Review, Memorious, and descant.
Director of Photography - Gus Sacks
Gus Sacks is an experienced Director of Photography working in many mediums. He has a strong background in cinematography, digital and technical workflows, and live stream production. He is known to invest heavily in pre-production and also for being an efficient and effective problem-solver when the need arises. He's shot multiple award-winning features, shorts and commercials, including the documentary Long Shot, which is currently in the Oscar race for 2018. He currently lives in Los Angeles with his wife Lindsey, son Mason, dogs Buster and Olive, and a cat named Waffles.
Jeremiah Kipp - First Assistant Director
Jeremiah Kipp's directing credits include BLACK WAKE starring Tom Sizemore, PICKUP starring Jim True-Frost ("The Wire"), EDWARD ALBEE: A TRANSFORMATIVE MOMENT starring Mercedes Ruehl, THE SADIST starring Tom Savini. Producing credits include the feature films SATAN HATES YOU (created by Glass Eye Pix), GOD'S LAND, IN MONTAUK, and THE BED-THING (directed by Pulitzer Prize-nominated Matt Zoller Seitz). Assistant director credits include I SELL THE DEAD starring Dominic Monaghan, SOMEWHERE TONIGHT starring John Turturro, ONE NIGHT starring Melissa Leo, and the Sundance Award-winning MAN (dir: Myna Joseph). Currently in pre-production on ATLAS OF THE SOUL starring James Earl Jones and screening his monster movie SLAPFACE at international film festivals.
Costume Designer - Deborah Unger
Deborah Unger is a collector of union memberships, Theatrical Wardrobe Local 764 being one. And so she was honored to support Catherine Cobb Ryan by handling the costuming duties for her beautiful film. Supporting the visions and art of other women is one of her artistic pleasures. In other news, you can check Deborah's IMDB page to see what she does in her spare time.
Make-up Artist - Jennifer Snowden
Jennifer Snowdon has a roster of celebrities she’s had the fortune to work with and four Indie films she was a part of had Theatrical Releases and several others are distributed on Amazon and Netflix.
Most recent is No Pay, Nudity starring Gabriel Byrne, Nathan Lane, Francis Conroy,Boyd Gaines and Directed by Lee Wilkof. Also included...Gun Hill Road, Naked as We Came and Molly’s Theory of Relativity, Racing Daylight with Melissa Leo and David Strathairn. She was Makeup Dept Head for
the NY Unit of EDEN, a Foreign Film which included Greta Gerwick and directed by the
up and coming Director Mia Hansen-Love. In the Doc World she did hair and makeup for Ellen Burstyn’s Interview in Touched by Duse, in post-production and was the Key Makeup Artist for American Masters-August Wilson “The Ground on which I Stand” which will be aired this summer on PBS.
Production Designer - Natasha Senko Thalman
Nick Candido - 2nd AD
Nick Candido is a passionate filmmaker based in the NYC area. With plenty of experience as a Unit Production Manager as well as a First Assistant Director, Nick has a precise understanding of the tact, tools, and timing required to run a film set. For Season of Passage, Nick served as the Second Assistant Director, supporting set to ensure each scene was punctually executed, and also lead the team of Production Assistants to field the natural, sudden changes and needs of the production. It was incredible for him to work alongside such a talented team eager to execute Catherine's vision. If you need a person to keep energy positive, expectations realistic, and everyone smiling, Nick Candido is the man you're looking for. Outside of the film industry, he keeps busy as both a voiceover artist and fiction novelist.