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A Mother Apart

“(Chin is a) Magnetic Presence”
- THE NEW YORK TIMES

“(Chin is a) Magnetic Presence”
- THE NEW YORK TIMES

June 1, 2024
Inside Out Film Festival
TIFF Lightbox 1

April 28, 2024
Hot Docs 2024
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SYNOPSIS

“My mother’s leaving me was the first wound.”

Staceyann Chin embodies multiple complex identities—poet, activist, lesbian, Jamaican American, mother. But the most complicated of all is “daughter.”

Abandoned by her mother as a child, Staceyann has been seeking her out for decades, travelling the globe in a one-sided attempt to forge a meaningful bond with the woman who brought her into the world.

And now, as the sole parent of nine-year-old Zuri, she wrestles with an all-consuming dilemma: how to mother a daughter when your own mother was missing in action.

In an extraordinary tale of grace and forgiveness, filmmaker Laurie Townshend profiles one woman’s inspired and deeply intentional parenting. A Mother Apart catches up with Staceyann as she picks up the trail of her elusive mother—a trail that leads to Brooklyn, Montreal, Cologne and, finally, back to her native Jamaica. Along the way she just may find the sense of home she’s been longing for.

A healing journey spanning three generations, the film is punctuated with vivid animation, imagery from personal archives and excerpts from Staceyann’s arresting live performances. Her singularly intersectional voice, showcased in the legendary Def Poetry Slam and hit solo shows like MotherStruck!, infuses A Mother Apart with deep compassion and commanding intelligence.

Cropped poster of Staceyanne

DIRECTED BY: LAURIE TOWNSHEND
THE NATIONAL FILM BOARD OF CANADA PRESENTS AN OYA MEDIA GROUP AND THE NATIONAL FILM BOARD OF CANADA CO-PRODUCTION PRODUCED IN ASSOCIATION WITH DOCUMENTARY CHANNEL LIVED BY STACEYANN CHIN DIRECTED BY LAURIE TOWNSHEND PRODUCED BY ALISON DUKE, NGARDY CONTEH GEORGE & JUSTINE PIMLOTT WRITTEN BY LAURIE TOWNSHEND & ALISON DUKE DIRECTORS OF PHOTOGRAPHY MRINAL DESAI, ASHLEY IRIS GILL & GABRIELA OSIO VANDEN EDITED BY SONIA GODDING TOGOBO ORIGINAL MUSIC COMPOSED BY TOM THIRD MOTION DESIGN BY RAMÓN CHARLES EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS CHANDA CHEVANNES, ALISON DUKE, NGARDY CONTEH GEORGE & ANITA LEE

Coming soon to the 2024 Black Star Film Festival