Directed by CHRISTY TURLINGTON BURNS
Every minute a woman dies from preventable complications during pregnancy or birth. It is a tragic reality that in many parts of the world becoming pregnant can be a death sentence. Even more shocking is the fact that roughly 90% of these deaths are preventable.
First time director and fashion icon Christy Turlington Burns opens the film with personal footage from her own harrowing birth experience. A quick turn of events during the delivery of her daughter inspires her to see firsthand what can be done to help other women who do not have the same access to quality care that she did. With more than twenty-five years at the forefront of the fashion industry, having graced every magazine cover from Vogue to Time, Christy Turlington Burns has established a diverse career as a model, writer, entrepreneur, spokes-person, advocate and now filmmaker. Philanthropy and service have long been a part of Christy’s personal and professional mission to make a lasting impact on the world.
The story: For hundreds of thousands of women each year, pregnancy is a death sentence. Shockingly, nearly all maternal deaths and disabilities could be prevented. NO WOMAN, NO CRY is a gripping documentary that tells the personal stories of pregnant women and their caregivers in four countries as they try to avoid adding to these troubling statistics. After each story, we return to Christy’s story and her experiences with her own maternal health by using candid “home movie” footage of Christy and her children.
The film puts audiences in the footsteps of a Maasai woman in Tanzania in labor who must walk five miles to a clinic with no electricity. Her condition is too complicated to be treated by the attending medical staff. She needs to get to a real hospital, but she has no means to get there. We meet a young pregnant woman in the slums of Bangladesh too ashamed to seek out care because her culture, incredibly, resists giving birth outside the home, even the birth mother’s health is at risk. There a pregnant OB in Guatemala who helps women who have suffered from botched illegal abortions, and a midwife in central Florida who treats uninsured women who are denied appointments elsewhere leaving them no access to basic pre-natal medical care in the world’s richest country.
Considered by Metromix New York to be one of Tribeca Film Festival’s “most intimate, impassioned non-fiction works,” NO WOMAN, NO CRY is able to engage wide-audiences and build connections between disparate populations. By using character-driven storytelling to put a face behind the statistics, NO WOMAN, NO CRY leaves audiences with a clear message: EVERY MOTHER COUNTS.
As the daughter of a Central American mother, she felt compelled to support efforts to rebuild post-war El Salvador in the early 1990’s and tell stories. In 2005, she began working with the international humanitarian organization CARE and has since become their Advocate for Maternal Health. She has also been an Ambassador for (RED) since their launch in 2006. Her work on behalf of CARE and (RED) inspired her to pursue a Masters in Public Health at Columbia University’s Mailman School in New York where she is currently in her second year.
Recent Press on the film after its European Premiere at the 2010 BFI London Film Festival: