Film Screening

film screening
@ garneau theatre

Location: Garneau Theatre,
8712 109 Street
Edmonton, AB, T6G 1E9

Date: Friday, May 13, 2016
Time: 4:00—6:00 pm




This screening included three films on motherhood: Sheena Wilson’s 2016 Petro-Mama: Mothering in a Crude World (5 min), Gina Miller’s 2012 Family Tissues (6 min), and Irene Lusztig’s 2013 The Motherhood Archives (93 min). These films each take up motherhood and maternalism in different ways to explore our collective social relationships to a changing and increasingly toxic environment; the conflict between motherhood, parenting and creativity; and the hidden histories of childbirth as a way to resist control over the maternal body. 

On PetroMama: Mothering in a Crude World

This short film, like the creative non-fiction story on which it is premised, links the personal with the political in a tense and evocative moment that parallels the mother's desperation as she struggles to help her small son suffering from an acute asthma attack, with our collective suffocation in a culture defined by oil production and a boom-and-bust extraction economy. As an academic mother concerned with our environmental future, Petro-Mama provokes viewers to question how this storied instance links the local to the global and connects past, present, with the aim of engendering dialogue about the future of our communities: where we are headed and how we might make not only an energy transition but associated social transformations in the interest of the common good. 

Sheena Wilson is a professor of Cultural Studies and Writing Studies at the University of Alberta, where she is also co-director of the Petrocultures Research Group. Her research interests involve an interdisciplinary approach to studying human and civil rights abuses in literature, film and media, specifically as they pertain to gendered and other forms of marginalization within the context of global oil cultures. (for more information see full bio on participants page here or go to

Daniel Holden is an award winning music video director and musician, who has filmed in Cuba, China, Mexico, Spain, France, England, and the US, and is currently finishing his degree in Secondary Education

On Family Tissues

In this video-short, Gina Miller examines the placentas of her three sons as a site to engage perceptions regarding natural childbirth and the resistance to the maternal body in Western culture. The performance of defrosting and burying the placentas by her and her grown children presents a vulnerable enquiry  and reluctant education within the family. The artist writes: “Family Tissues details the performance of unwrapping my frozen placentas and creating conversation and action around them with my three sons; it refers to a theoretical and experiential exchange regarding growth, both in biological and philosophic terms. The placentas become a site for conversation about relationships and ecologies in the micro and macro — they digest all dead organisms while providing the very nutrients essential for life. It is essential for biological development, and also stands as a symbol for the ongoing symbiotic relationship I have with my boys. The visceral materiality and function of the placenta speaks to the ways that we are in a constant state of being-in-process with each other and the environments that, literally, make us.”

Gina Miller is a visual artist who practices and lives in Vancouver, B.C. Her recent work has been focused on growth: psychological and spiritual. Gina has worked mainly with 2-d mixed media forms. Family Tissues is her first foray into producing video work. Gina graduated from Emily Carr University with a BFA in 2012 and has a Fine Arts diploma from Capilano University. (for more details see Gina Miller’s webpage here)

On The Motherhood Archives

Archival montage, science fiction, and homage to 70s feminist filmmaking are woven together in this haunting and lyrical essay film excavating hidden histories of childbirth in the twentieth century. Assembling an extraordinary archive of over 100 educational, industrial, and medical training films, THE MOTHERHOOD ARCHIVES inventively untangles the complex, sometimes surprising genealogies of maternal education. From the first use of anesthetic ether in the 19th century to the postmodern 21st century hospital birthing suite, THE MOTHERHOOD ARCHIVES charts a fascinating course through the cultural history of pain, the history of obstetric anesthesia, and the little-known international history of the natural childbirth and Lamaze movements. Revealing a world of intensive training, rehearsal, and performative preparation for the unknown that is ultimately incommensurate with experience, THE MOTHERHOOD ARCHIVES is a meditation on the maternal body as a site of institutional control, ideological surveillance, medical knowledge, and nationalist state intervention.

Irene Lusztig is a US-based filmmaker, visual artist, and archival researcher.  Her film and video work mines old images and technologies for new meanings in order to reframe, recuperate, or reanimate forgotten and neglected histories. She teaches filmmaking at UC Santa Cruz where she is Associate Professor of Film and Digital Media. (for more details see full bio on participants page here or I. Lusztig’s website here.)

Literary Salon


Location: Remedy Café 
8631 109 Street,
Edmonton, AB, T6G 1E8

Date: Friday May 13, 2016
Time: 6:00—9:00 pm

Following the film screening at the Garneau Theatre, we held a Q & A with filmmakers, literary readings by international and local authors, a book launch for Screening Motherhood in Contemporary World Cinema (2016), and a literary open mic.




(1) Post-Screening Q&A, with Irene Lusztig & Sheena Wilson


a. Christine Pountney, “Getting Heated About Gift Culture”
b. Myrel Chernick, A short excerpt on French feminism from her hybrid novel in progress
c. Lise Baggesen Ross, Kinder Küche, Kirche, Biite! (2016)
d. Asma Sayed, Muslim Mothering a reading from The Relevance of Identity

(2) Book Launch: Introductory framing comments by Dr. Asma Sayed, editor of Screening Motherhood in Contemporary World Cinema (Demeter 2016)

(3) Open Mic — Readings by local writers

Creative Practices Institute Artists Networking Event


The Creative Practices Institute worked with New Maternalisms Redux and Mapping the Maternal to host two networking events for parent artists and artivists in Edmonton. 

May 15 Parent-Artist and Ally Meet and Greet Event, 10:00 am - 1:00pm; Creative Practices Institute, 10149 122 Street; Led by visiting artists Christa Donner and Rachel Epp Bullerand local artists Jacqueline Ohm and Alexis Marie Chute