At Your Cervix


TYPE
: Documentary
GENRE: Documentary
STATUS: Post-Production

LOGLINE

Inside U.S. medical schools specially trained women teach pelvic exams using their own bodies, but sometimes students learn by practicing on each other, or on anesthetized women without their consent.

SYNOPSIS

At Your Cervix enters medical institutions to uncover the sometimes troubling and unethical ways students learn to perform breast and pelvic exams. These methods include nursing students playing the patient for their colleagues and medical students practicing on unconscious, unconsenting patients. It also illuminates a revolutionary approach to teaching respectful, pain-free exams in which the patient herself is the teacher.

ARTISTIC STATEMENT

Uncomfortable; Humiliating; Traumatic--words women too often use to describe pelvic exams. At Your Cervix is the first film to take an intimate look at the genesis and development of the pelvic exam. It traces the history of gynecology through three interwoven stories. Using historical illustrations and humorous vignettes, the film depicts how students have been trained on everything from cadavers and prostitutes to rubber dolls and computerized vaginal simulators. By examining the unique pedagogies for pelvic exams, the film makes connections to why exams have historically been so problematic, and demands amelioration. The camera enters exam rooms of prestigious institutions: from the first nervous moment of introduction, to working hands-on with instructors, students work through the often overwhelming experience of learning to perform the most intimate exams. The film introduces women from an unusual labor force as they tell the story of pelvic exam training in their own words, turning the patient-provider power dynamic on its head. By transforming exams into opportunities women actually welcome to discover more about their bodies, and their sexual and reproductive selves, the film will be a dynamic call for change in gynecological care as we know it.

KEY CREW

Amy Jo Goddard - Director, co-writer & producer

 Amy Jo worked as a Gynecological Teaching Associate in NYC for 10 years, because as a sexual empowerment educator she wanted to impact people who were entering the field of medicine about sexuality. She was host of CherryBomb.com’s web stream program Fresh Advice, developing, researching, writing and performing over 60 episodes on women’s sexuality. She co-wrote and produced the sold-out play Vulvalution: Her Lips Speak in New York’s downtown theatre community among her other one-woman shows. She is author of Woman on Fire: 9 Elements to Wake Up Your Erotic Energy, Personal Power and Sexual Intelligence, co-author of Lesbian Sex Secrets for Men (both Penguin Random House) and contributing author of All About Sex: A Family Resource Guide on Sex and Sexuality. She has produced several short films and this is her first feature. She has produced a large body of work on sexuality, healthy relationships, sexual empowerment, and sexual politics. You can find more about her at www.amyjogoddard.com.

Julie Carlson - Producer, co-writer & researcher

 Julie worked as a Gynecological Teaching Associate in New York City for 3 years. At the time she became a GTA, she was Associate Director then Co-Director of the Human Rights Project of the Urban Justice Center. Her work there highlighted social and economic human rights violations in the US with an emphasis on race, class and gender. Continuing her work from a human rights perspective, she transitioned to become a Nurse Midwife where she wanted to focus on providing radical health care that is deeply respectful and empowering. She graduated from a Nurse Midwifery program at the University of California at San Francisco in 2007. She had the honor of beginning her career working in the Navajo Nation for 4 years after which she practiced in other hospital-based practices until 2015 when she opened a home birth practice. She provides both general women’s health care and midwifery care. You can learn more about her at www.mamabearmidwifery.com.

Renée Bergan - Co-producer

 Renée Bergan founded Renegade Pix in 2003 with the goal of educating, inspiring and advocating change through her film work. She received her BA in Film Studies from the University of California, Santa Barbara in 1993. Her first feature documentary, Sadaa E Zan (Voices of Women), a documentary about Afghan women, received the Social Justice Award for Best Documentary at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival in 2003, as well as the Audience Award and Best Director Award at the NY International Independent Film & Video Festival in 2004. Renée has made two additional feature length documentaries: Paul Soldner: Playing With Fire, a biography about revolutionary ceramist Paul Soldner; and Poto Mitan: Haitian Women, Pillars of the Global Economy, an intense account about the lives of Haitian women workers. Renée/Renegade Pix was on the media team for Occupy Wall Street and Occupy Sandy, documenting many daily actions and ongoing stories. Many videos were created but one compelling video was: Sharon’s Story, a short documentary about how one woman deals with the grief of losing her 17 yr old son, by giving back to her community during desperate times (Honorable Mention at the Red Hook Film Festival in 2013). Other projects include: Believe Me, a 30 second PSA for Santa Barbara Rape Crisis Center (National PSA award in 2007); Gela, a short documentary about memory and the Holocaust and Shed the Shame, a woman’s journey of overcoming body shame. Renée has also lent her producing, shooting and editing hands to other documentary filmmakers with their award-winning works such as: The Hand that Feeds and Crossing Bhutan.

Beth Nelsen - Editor

 Beth Nelsen is an award winning filmmaker whose most recent work, CAMP BEAVERTON: MEET THE BEAVERS, has screened on every continent, with the exception of Antarctica, who doesn’t need us tromping all over her land. After the re-election of GWB in 2004, Beth left the United States for Thailand, India, and eventually landed in Australia where she settled in Melbourne for nearly 6 years, earning her Masters in Film & Television at the prestigious Victorian College of the Arts, with an emphasis on directing documentary. Upon graduation, Beth received the honors of Most Promising Director for her thesis film, LOVE REFUGEES. Her passion and dedication for good, non-fiction storytelling have continued to grow and she seeks collaboration on projects with strong potential for heavy social impact. AT YOUR CERVIX was an easy decision for her to pour her hard work into as an editor and she is very excited to share this film with the world.

 

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ACCOLADES

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IFP Fiscal Sponsorship Program 2017

 

UPDATE - April 03, 2017

At Your Cervix completed a successful IndieGogo Crowd funding campaign and raised over $52,000 in the fall of 2016!  We are currently hard at work editing the film with a goal of releasing it in June 2017! 

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