Insert Yourself

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TYPE
: Documentary Feature
GENRE: Documentary
STATUS: Production

LOGLINE

The intrauterine device (IUD) is enjoying a surge in popularity in the US, but a fraught history complicates its status as birth control royalty.

SYNOPSIS

The intrauterine device (IUD) is enjoying a surge in popularity in the US, but a fraught history complicates its status as birth control royalty. Insert Yourself takes a personal approach to investigating America’s most on-the-rise birth control method.

ARTISTIC STATEMENT

The structure of Insert Yourself will mirror our own experiences in seeking information about the IUD. Though access to information about IUDs can feel limited, it can also feel overwhelming: it comes from friends, advertisements, doctors, history, politics, and culture. The film will begin with a chorus of interviews from people who have an IUD or have had one in the past, sharing their anecdotal stories about the device. A consistent lighting approach provides a unity for all our interviews, which are captured with intimate cinematography by a two-person, woman-identified crew. These interviews will be woven throughout the film to reflect people’s varied experiences using the IUD. As we’re always told, the way the IUD affects people varies from person to person. Insert Yourself aims to bring the viewer inside those “person-to-person” experiences. From there, the film will go on to explore the marketing around IUDs, using commercials and celebrity endorsements to look critically at the messaging crafted by companies manufacturing the device. Then we will take a deep dive inside doctor’s offices, where patients undergo the IUD insertion procedure - which for many is the first and only time they’ll have the opportunity to see the device in person. We sit down with healthcare providers who themselves have IUDs and who insert IUDs daily to discuss their experiences with the device and how they talk about it with their patients. A common thread to our interviewees’ stories is a shared anxiety over the IUD insertion process - though their experiences of that process vary widely. Insert Yourself uses vérité scenes to explore the insertion process. We go into medical schools, where med students learn how to insert IUDs using colorful pink and purple devices as dummies. We follow one of our participants to her appointment to have a dislodged IUD removed, and a new one inserted. Insert Yourself relies on this intimate access to demystify the insertion process for viewers. Insert Yourself will then expand to a broader view with expert interviews and secondary sources. Using museum footage, archival sources, and interviews with experts, Insert Yourself will shine a light on the fraught history of the IUD: a history which reflects the racist history of contraceptives overall. News footage will demonstrate how the IUD has been shaped by - and has shaped - political discourse in the United States, especially in the wake of the 2016 presidential election and subsequent shifting of the Supreme Court. And commentary from late night shows, standup comedy, tv shows, and film will highlight how the IUD is understood and discussed in popular culture. Finally, we will work with local Chicago artists to create large-scale IUDs and film our participants taking these sculptures on public transit, to brunch, on dates, and other real-world scenarios to play with the concept of those with IUDs constantly "carrying" these devices around with them. These dreamy tableaus will be interspersed throughout the film alongside our interviewees to create a cohesive visual language for the film.

KEY CREW

Mimi Wilcox - Director/Editor/DP
Mimi Wilcox is a Chicago-based documentary filmmaker, editor and shooter. She most recently edited the feature documentary HEAD TO HEAD (dir. Andrea Alberti), which follows the stories of five women with hair loss. She is a co-editor of Kartemquin Films' upcoming feature documentary THE DILEMMA OF DESIRE (dir. Maria Finitzo), premiering at SXSW 2020. Other credits include MR. GELE (Cleveland International Film Festival), ALPHA MARE (Woods Hole Film Festival), CONCRETE DREAMS (RIDE Channel), and UNINSURABLE (Upworthy). Mimi was a resident of the 2019 Points North Institute Shortform Editing Residency with her film THE SEBASTOPOL SIEGE. She has shot for National Geographic, Jigsaw and feature documentaries around the world. She was born and raised in Northern California.

Julia Martin - Director/Producer
Julia Martin is a Chicago-based filmmaker who got her start working with Kartemquin Films, the 53-year-old documentary production house behind films such as Academy Award-nominated HOOP DREAMS and Peabody Award-winning MAPPING STEM CELL RESEARCH: TERRA INCOGNITA. She held a variety of roles on Kartemquin's staff including assisting founder and artistic director Gordon Quinn, supporting the organization's development department, and assisting with the creation of marketing strategies, impact campaigns, and distribution plans for Kartemquin's co-productions, including Academy Award-nominated MINDING THE GAP, ABACUS: SMALL ENOUGH TO JAIL, and EDITH+EDDIE.

 

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