Adventures in Miscarriage is a moving and entertaining (yes, entertaining) documentary by Emmy-nominated filmmaker Cheryl Furjanic that pulls back the curtain on miscarriage. After enduring a second-trimester pregnancy loss in a hotel bathroom three thousand miles from home, this heartbroken lesbian filmmaker navigates her ongoing grief using dark humor, surrealist vignettes, and absurdist fantasy to reveal how far we have to go to improve miscarriage care in the United States.
Using her own loss as the start of this adventure, Furjanic explores miscarriage in many forms: its history, its mental health impacts, the culture of miscarriage shame and silence, racism in reproductive medicine, emerging training being offered to medical practitioners to promote better miscarriage care, and much more – all against the backdrop of the war being waged on pregnant bodies as we speak. Care for people who are miscarrying in this country has never been well managed – and it’s all about to get worse. This forthcoming genre-bending documentary takes audiences into the far reaches of the landscape of loss to show the shockingly cruel way people who miscarry are treated, and what we can do to improve it.
A full-term pregnancy is nine months (or about 40 weeks). The medical definition of a miscarriage is when a pregnancy ends inside a pregnant person’s body before 20 weeks. Upon experiencing a miscarriage, some people feel they have lost a fetus, others feel they lost an embryo, and others feel they have lost a baby. But no matter what someone calls their loss, the reality is one day they’re pregnant, and then suddenly they’re not. And whatever is inside their body has to come out. This is a miscarriage.
For as long as humans have been on this planet, people have been getting pregnant and experiencing pregnancy loss. Today, an estimated 25% of pregnancies end in miscarriage. That’s 35 million people per year who miscarry worldwide and 1.5 million people who miscarry in the United States alone. And those are just the statistics about miscarriages that are reported. Many people miscarry and never tell anyone. However, despite the staggering frequency with which people miscarry, the personal experience of pregnancy loss has been historically silenced and awash in shame.
A political war is being waged on women’s bodies in the United States and the legal efforts to criminalize pregnant people are growing nationwide. With the recent reversal of Roe v. Wade, pregnant bodies are under attack and miscarriage is on the frontlines. Medical procedures used for abortions are often the same procedures used for miscarriage care. Denying, or criminalizing, medical access for pregnant people creates a dangerous future for anyone capable of gestating a fetus in their uterus. Miscarriage is a reproductive justice issue.
Cheryl Furjanic (Director/Producer) is an award-winning filmmaker whose work has screened at festivals worldwide and on television. Her most recent film is STONEWALL: THE MAKING OF A MONUMENT (New York Times Op-Doc, 2019). Her feature documentary BACK ON BOARD: GREG LOUGANIS was broadcast on HBO and nominated for an Emmy Award and Producers Guild of America award in 2016. Though she has worked in many different filmmaking genres, there is a through-line in all of Cheryl’s work of heart, humor, and hope in the face of uncertainty. Furjanic has been teaching documentary production at NYU for over two decades. She is a closet juggler and an award-winning Halloween costume maker. Many moons ago, she was a member of two queer downtown New York City comedy performance troupes. She lives in Brooklyn with her partner and her son.
Stephanie Schiavenato (Producer) is a Latina filmmaker, doula, and anthropologist. She produced and directed LANDFALL (2018), a short documentary about the lingering effects of trauma on the relationship between her mother and brother who migrated from Colombia. She is currently producing and directing the short documentary MOTHER CAKE, which explores the relationship between women and their placentas. Stephanie is one of the most experienced doulas in NYC (and is helping to doula this movie out of Cheryl). She did her PhD dissertation research on how families cope with pregnancy loss. She regularly gives presentations about fetal loss and has written extensively about the subject. Twelve years ago, Stephanie was pregnant and had a premature delivery of twin girls who died shortly after being born.
Having a miscarriage is like being in a “club” that you wish you were never a member of.
Here is what some well-known members of “The Miscarriage Club” have to say about pregnancy loss:
“A miscarriage is lonely, painful, and demoralizing almost on a cellular level…When you have one, you will likely mistake it for a personal failure, which it is not.”
“There is a strident trifecta swirling around the topic of miscarriage—made up of silence, stigma, and shame.”
“On the one hand, you’re suffering through this grief. And on the other hand, your health care providers are trying to help you deal with it by telling you it’s really not a big deal.”
“This is a very painful, triggering topic, but…like so many triggering and painful topics in motherhood, they really, really need to be talked about.”
OTHER MEMBERS OF “THE MISCARRIAGE CLUB”
NOTE: The club members below have all “come out” publicly about their pregnancy loss.
- Lily Allen, Singer
- Kirstie Alley, Actress
- Tori Amos, Singer
- Eva Amurri, Actress
- Pamela Anderson, Actress
- Josephine Baker, Dancer/Singer/Actress
- Hilaria Baldwin, Public Figure
- Elizabeth Banks, Actress
- Beyoncé, Global Superstar
- Victoria Beckham, Singer/Designer
- Valerie Bertinelli, Actress
- Ankita Bhargava, Actress
- Brandi Boyd, TV Personality
- Christie Brinkley, Model
- Julia Bueno, Author/Psychotherapist
- Barbara Bush, former First Lady of the United States
- Elisabetta Canalis, Actress
- Mariah Carey, Singer
- Nell Carter, Actress
- Priscilla Chan, Philanthropist / Former Pediatrician
- Joan Chen, Actress/Director
- Cher, CHER!!!!
- Courtney Cox, Actress
- Joan Crawford, Actress
- Celine Dion, Singer
- Dylan Dryer, Meteorologist
- Tammy Duckworth, Senator (Democrat-Illinois)
- Liz Feldman, TV Writer/Creator
- Bethany Frankel, Entrepreneur/TV Personality
- Brenda Fricker, Actress
- Deborra-Lee Furness, Actress/Producer
- Dawn-Lyen Gardner, Actress
- Sara Gaynes Levy, Writer
- Golnesa Gharachedaghim TV Personality
- Kathy Lee Gifford, TV Host
- Jacinda Gugliemino, TV Personality (Australia)
- Morgan Goodwin, Athlete
- Halsey, Singer
- Linda Hamilton, Actress
- Teri Hatcher, Actress
- Audrey Hepburn, Actress
- Claire Holt, Actress
- Whitney Houston, Singer
- Kelly Hutchinson, TV Writer
- Jessie J, Singer
- Shawn Johnson, Olympic Athlete
- Nancy Kerrigan, Olympic Athlete
- Frida Kahlo, Artist
- Laura Kenny, Olympic Athlete
- Nicole Kidman, Actress
- Jamie King, Actress
- Gladys Knight, Singer
- Jana Kramer, Singer/Actress
- Lucy Lawless, Actress
- Janet Leigh, Actress
- Vivien Leigh, Actress
- Ariel Levy, Writer
- Lisa Ling. Journalist
- Lindsay Lohan, Actress
- Sophia Loren, Actress
- Courtney Love, Singer
- Loni Love, Comedian/Actress
- Katie Lowes, actress
- Evelyn Lozada, TV Personality
- Susan Lucci, Actress
- Melanie Lynskey, Actress
- Kate Mara, Actress
- Meghan Markle, Duchess & former Actress
- Amy Mass, TV Writer/Producer
- Teddi Mellencamp, TV Personality
- Erica Mena, TV Personality
- Meghan McCain, TV Personality
- Liza Minelli, Liza with a Z
- Beverly Mitchell, Actress/Singer
- Shay Mitchell, Actress
- Lil’ Mo, Singer
- Marilyn Monroe, Actress
- Demi Moore, Actress
- Mary Tyler Moore, Actress
- Natalie Morales, Journalist
- Renee Morrison, Actress
- Alanis Morrissette, Singer
- Sinead O’Connor, Singer
- Michelle Obama, former First Lady of the United States
- Jackie Kennedy Onassis, former First Lady of the United States
- Yoko Ono, Artist
- Gwyneth Paltrow, Actress
- Amanda Palmer, Singer
- Christina Perri, Singer
- Pink, Singer
- Angelina Pivarnick, TV Personality
- Sylvia Plath, Poet/Writer
- Suzanne Pleshette, Actress
- Tiffany “New York” Pollard, TV Personality
- Whitney Port, TV Personality
- Jane Pratt, Magazine Editor / Radio Host
- Lisa Marie Presley, Singer
- Giuliana Rancic, TV Personality
- Melissa Rauch, Actresss
- Joan Rivers, Comedian
- Missy Robertson, TV Personality
- Lela Rochon, Actress
- Gabrielle Ruiz, Actress
- Melissa Rycroft, TV Personality
- Hillary Scott, Singer
- Laura Seftel, Author
- Jackie Seiden, Actress
- Katey Sagal, Actress
- Jean Seberg, Actress
- Jane Seymour, Actress
- Brooke Shields, Actress
- Lynn Shelton, Filmmaker
- Hope Solo, Olympic Athlete
- Sharon Stone, Actress
- Amanda Tapping, Actress
- Elizabeth Taylor, Actress
- Chrissy Teigen, Cookbook Author / TV Personality
- Emma Thompson, Actress
- Jade Roper Tolbert, TV Personality
- Carrie Underwood, Singer
- Gabrielle Union, Actress
- Kimberly Van Der Beek, Actress/Producer
- Alicia Vikander, Actress
- Mireya Villerreal, Journalist
- Sara Walsh, Sports Journalist
- Barbara Walters, Journalist / TV Personality
- Amy Webb, Writer / Futurist
- Vanna White, TV Personality
- Porsha Williams, TV Personality
- Wendy Williams, TV Personality / Radio Host
- Oprah Winfrey, Mega Mogul
- Ali Wong, Comedian
- Jane Wyman, Actress
- Jessica Zucker, Author/Psychologist
Our film uses humor and candor as a way to invite audiences to get comfortable talking about miscarriage. This film will appeal to the massive ecosystem of people whose lives have been affected by pregnancy loss – folks who are trying to conceive, their partners, parents, siblings, friends, employers, medical professionals, and many others. Our goal is to bring the topic of miscarriage and the treatment of pregnant people into a national public conversation. And to change the way that doctors, hospitals, OB/GYNS, insurance companies, and more – treat people who are miscarrying.
Our goal for the film is a wide release paired with a strategic international impact campaign:
- Film festival release to build an audience and engage national press.
- National television broadcast or release on major streaming platform.
- Strategic outreach, screening tour & training workshops to better prepare medical personnel for supporting people experiencing pregnancy loss.
- Resources and support to complement the film’s message. Fee medical and support supplies (via our website) for anyone who has recently experienced a pregnancy loss, and a suite of educational and community discussion guides.
- Conference screening campaign focused on presentations at medical, birth, and grief/loss conferences.
- Policymaker engagement campaign to improve legislation around pregnancy loss.
Join us on our adventure! Help us make this film!
Adventures in Miscarriage is a fiscally sponsored project of the Center for Independent Documentary (CID), a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Center for Independent Documentary is dedicated to collaborating with independent filmmakers, offering assistance and support in bringing their films to completion. All donations made to CID on behalf of Adventures in Miscarriage are tax-deductible. https://www.documentaries.org/adventures-in-miscarriage
Let’s talk about miscarriages and making movies!
THIS FILM IS BEING MADE WITH SUPPORT FROM:
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