BEDFORD HILLS, N.Y. - Filmmaker Jenifer McShane's 2011 documentary "Mothers of Bedford" peeks into a corner of Bedford's backyard seldom visited by residents: the Bedford Hills Correction Facility For Women.
This month, screenings in Manhattan, Chappaqua and Brooklyn bring the film back to the Westchester/New York City area. McShane and her camera crew spent four years documenting the struggles of five women prisoners attempting to raise their children from behind bars.
The filmmaker records how Melissa, Tanika, Mona, Rosa and Anneathia deal with the normal frustrations of parenting as well as experiences that could only happen with incarcerated moms, like celebrating a child's first birthday and even Mother's Day in prison.
The film, which had two screenings in Bedford last April, also stars the founder of The Children's Center at Bedford Hills Correctional Facility, Sister Elaine Roulet, and Bobby Blanchard, who left her career as a lawyer to work as a teacher in the center's nursery and parenting programs.
Eighty percent of women in U.S. prisons today are mothers of school-age children, according to the film's website. In the end, "Mothers of Bedford" examines the power of the mother-child relationship to overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles. Watch a trailer for the film here.
The film's next screenings will be held at the following area locations:
- Feb. 4: Jewish Board of Family & Children's Services, 135 W. 50th St., 6th Floor, Manhattan. 6 p.m. The screening is sponsored by NY Zero to Three Network and will feature a panel discussion with the director afterward.
- Feb. 21: Chappaqua Library's theater, 195 South Greeley Ave., Chappaqua. 7 p.m. Co-sponsored by The Chappaqua Interfaith Council, library guests are invited to bring an unwrapped gift for the prison's children's center. Most wanted gifts for 'tweens and teens are nail polish, jewelry, craft kits, board games, wallets (boys or girls) and watches.
- Feb. 26: Children of Promise at Lafayette Avenue, 4th & 6th Floor, Brooklyn. 6 p.m.
In addition, a showing of the film is planned for the Ridgefield Playhouse in Ridgefield, Conn. on an undetermined date in March.
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