Many parents find it hard to imagine being away from a child for a week. Imagine being separated for ten or twenty years? MOTHERS OF BEDFORD explores the effects of a long-term prison sentence on the mother-child relationship.
The film examines the struggles and joys these five women face as prisoners and mothers. It shows the normal frustrations of parenting as well as the surreal experiences of a child’s first birthday party inside prison, the cell that child lives in with her mother, and the biggest celebration of the year, Mother’s Day in prison!
Eighty percent of women in US prisons today are mothers of school-age children. Filmmaker Jenifer McShane spent four years visiting Bedford Hills and following the women and their families. A mother herself, Jenifer was drawn to the universal themes of motherhood and the staggering power of the mother-child relationship. In all walks of life, mother and child care for each other. As we watch the mothers inside Bedford trying to become their better selves, we see parts of our own selves – and that gives us all hope.
Jenifer’s first documentary, A LEAP OF FAITH, about an integrated school in Belfast, Northern Ireland premiered at The Sundance Film Festival in 1996. Mothers of Bedford teams her again with the gifted editor, Toby Shimin. Jenifer’s most recent film, ERNIE & JOE: CRISIS COPS, is currently streaming on HBO.