Year of production2007
Broadcast and production partnersSBS
Fiona is 33 and wants to have a baby. But her partner, Kellie, is a woman and sperm isn’t handy. Fiona has a solution: an English gay guy from work wants to be a dad. Fiona and Kelly want their child to have a father. It seems perfect…but is it?
For Darren, the arrangement seems like a dream come true. With his parents in the UK, Darren will finally be a dad and have family in Australia. Kellie is skeptical. A baby is one thing but a man involved in her relationship – forever? Could he take off with the baby if anything happened to Fiona?
Unsure what being a parent really means – the three draw up a contract outlining how they will raise a child. All they have to do is get pregnant – without sex! Medical advice: a plastic syringe for the sperm, some contrived romance, and the three manage to self-inseminate.
With pregnancy well underway, the cracks in this unusual family begin to show. Arguments over colours of the baby’s room are just the start. The “baby contract” unravels in an explosive confrontation. Could the three end up in court before the child even arrives? And will their own parents think of the baby as their grandchild?
They are entering uncharted legal territory as well. Kellie is not legally considered a parent, nor is Darren. In fact, the law does not recognize them as a family at all – what will happen if the whole thing falls apart?
Once baby Marley is born, 3 way parenting shifts up a gear. The baby lives with the girls, and Darren is allowed restricted visits. But without enough bonding time, Darren is heartbroken. Access rights are renegotiated with new Mum Fiona keeping a careful eye on every move Dad makes.
It’s Darren’s worst nightmare; he’s fighting to see his son and feels Fiona has decided he isn’t a good father. Did they just want him for his sperm? While the blood parents battle it out, Kellie is so entranced by the baby, now she wants one with Darren too.
Shot from the perspectives of Fiona, Kellie and Darren, 2 Mums and a Dad will take the audience on a roller coaster ride from pregnancy to parenthood in a most unusual unit, while also tackling universal issues of relevance for anyone with a family, and isn’t that all of us?
My initial film training came as a co-director/writer of natural history documentaries with the ABC Natural History Unit and Sydney-based independent producers. After working in this genre for several years, I became interested in making social documentaries. I am passionate about telling stories that rarely reach a wider audience, particularly concerning minority groups and cultures. 2 Mums and a Dad is my first film as sole director.
I have wanted to make a documentary about gay and lesbian culture for at least 10 years. For one thing, it is a part of Australian society that is underrepresented on television. Also because the current gay and lesbian baby boom is transforming the very nature of what an Australian family is, especially where the family unit involves three or more adults from conception.
I believe 2 Mums and a Dad is the first Australian film to document two lesbians and a gay man having and raising a baby. It tells the story from both lesbian and gay perspectives and includes their extended families.
The idea for the film came from increasing mainstream interest in gay and lesbian families via newspaper articles and TV news. Gay and lesbian parenting arrangements can be extraordinarily complicated, especially without social and legal safety nets afforded more conventional families. I wanted to make a film that would investigate the issues, raise awareness and spark debate.
Darren, Kellie, Fiona and MarleyI completed this film over 2 years, with Sally Ingleton as my committed producer. I found the experience to be an incredible learning process as a first time director, enhancing my skills in working with talent and film crews. For much of the early stages of the project I was unable to afford a professional crew, so I bought my own camera and sound equipment and learnt to film with my partner doing sound. With the SBS presale in hand, the Australian Film Commission provided some Time Critical Funding just before the baby was born which enabled us to employ a professional crew. The film was fully financed in late July 2006 by the Film Finance Corporation Australian and SBS.
With social and legal implications of these new family structures being debated by society, politicians and the courts, I hope this film will offer a timely insight into a unique aspect of contemporary Australian society.
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NominatedBest Achievement in Direction, Australian Directors Guild Awards 2008
WinnerBest Documentary ATOM (Australian Teachers of Media) Awards 2007
WinnerBest Documentary Dendy Awards Sydney Film Festival 2007
FinalistBest Documentary Human Story Australian Teachers of Media Awards ATOM 2007