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The Screen Guide

For three decades, from the 1950s to the 1970s, Australian authorities pressured many unmarried mothers to give up their babies for adoption into what they considered "better" homes - those of married couples. At a time when society had no place for single mothers and their illegitimate children, these women were unaware of their legal rights. Sometimes they were coerced, even drugged, and their babies literally stolen. Despite arguments that the practice was well-intentioned, for the individuals involved the ongoing impact has been devastating. This documentary explores the experiences of these women and their efforts to contact their children and gain recognition for past wrongs, while revealing the dramatic change in social values that has since occurred.

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Crew

Director
Karen Berkman
Writers
Heather Phillips
Producer
Mark Chapman
Executive Producers
Mark Hamlyn
Dir. of Photography
Craig Lucas

Cast

Monette Lee Smith (narrator)

Production Details

Production Completion
2005
Genre
History and national identity, Social contemporary
Production Company
Film Australia Limited  Big Island Pictures

Selected Awards & Festivals

  • Singapore International Film Festival
    (2006)
  • Mumbai International Film Festival
    (2006)
  • Australian Cinematographers Society Queensland
    (2005)