Capturing a Short Life
Tuesday July 21, 2009 at 10 pm ET/PT on CBC Newsworld
Capturing A Short Life is a beautiful and life-affirming documentary about families dealing with infant loss.
Combining verité and interview footage with still photography, this poignant documentary details the stories of families who are dealing, in an immediate sense, with the loss of a newborn baby. Capturing A Short Life portrays in a sensitive, intimate and cinematic manner, the emotional, medical and ethical choices that parents are often faced with when they are told that their baby is incompatible with life. Although this subject matter is impossibly sad, the lives and relationships that evolve, even in this context, are not.Emerson, photography by Heather Rivlin
This film follows the stories of four families as they live through, and detail, their baby's lives. Although the circumstances surrounding the births, lives and deaths of their children vary significantly, at the core of their stories there is a similar emotional resonance.
Lydia is born full term, but during labour, suffered massive brain damage due to a lack of oxygen. Her family are told that she will never evolve beyond a non-responsive state. Her parents are forced to make difficult decisions about whether or not to withdraw life support and, ultimately, whether to take her off nutrition.
Emerson was born four months early, weighing less than two pounds. With each ounce he gains his parents hope that he will be able to beat the odds and survive.Kayla and April, photography by Heather Rivlin
Twins, Kayla and April were born healthy but, at one month old, Kayla contracted meningitis and her parents have been told she will likely become non-responsive within 48 hours.
Hailey was born with Type Two Gauchers disease, a rare genetic illness that causes extensive and progressive brain damage. The outcome of Hailey's life is inevitable, but her parents are determined to enjoy every second they have with her.
Few people are aware that in North America every year, tens of thousands of families are having to say goodbye to children they've only just met and millions more lose babies to miscarriage or stillbirth.Lydia with mom and dad, photography by Heather Rivlin
When a baby dies, it is not only an infant that is lost, but a toddler, a child, a teenager and an adult. An entire life, an entire future, disappears. There will be no first birthdays, no first steps, no first report cards, no first loves.. instead there is an intense, impossible, few moments to say hello and goodbye.
Capturing A Short Life is not a film about death, it is a film about how critical it is to remember and celebrate the beautiful babies who are only with us for a moment, and how impossible it is to forget them.
Produced by director, Sheona McDonald for Dimestore Productions Inc. in association with CBC Newsworld