In this intimate documentary director Marieke Schellart (35) reveals how she struggles with the biological clock. She would like to have kids, but the right guy has not arrived yet. To give herself a bit more time she wants to extend fertility by freezing her eggs, however in the Netherlands freezing eggs for social reasons is not allowed. She openly discusses her plans and doubts with her friends and parents, meeting support and resistance along the way. She also looks for Mr. Right by asking dates for presents on her 36th birthday party. For Marieke a long journey has started which even takes her abroad, trying to find a solution to an emerging problem among modern women. Additional Filmmaker Notes:What motivates a woman to freeze her eggs? Maybe it’s difficult to imagine and some politicians even want to forbid it. In my film I reveal how I, 35 and single, struggle with my biological clock. I would like to have kids with a partner, but I’m running out of time. There are many women like me, independent, successful careers, lots of friends and they are dealing with the same private issues. Is this the flipside of our celebrated women’s liberation? Most of us never speak openly about it. So let’s just say it was time to speak out loud. I thought making a film would be a good way to show the world these emerging issues among modern women. By doing this in an intimate and sometimes light hearted way I hope people will understand a little bit more about my generation, our issues and motives to extend fertility.
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Eggs For Later
Eggs For Later
Neubrandenburg, 6th of November 2011Dear Rocky Mountain Movie Lovers,
Thank you all for coming to see my documentary Eggs for later. I’m sorry that I could not attend the festival for a Q & A. At the moment I’m at DokumentArt, a film festival in Germany. A little closer to Holland, where I live J
After previous screenings many viewers had a lot of questions. Through this mail I would like to answer the 7 most asked questions. I hope some of yours will be answered too. I’ll tell some background stories and give a short update of my life now.1. How did you get the idea of this movie?
When I was thirty, I started to get fascinated by single women in their late thirties without children. How do they deal with an eventually child wish? It could imagine that would be a very difficult situation. And then suddenly I was 35 myself and for 5 years single. When will I get a relationship again and will I still be fertile by that time? Why aren’t we much longer fertile, just like men? I wanted to find out whether it was possible to extend my fertility.
I noticed that in Amsterdam there are many women like me, independent, successful careers, lots of friends and they are dealing with the same private issues. Is this the flipside of our celebrated women’s liberation? Most of us never speak openly about it. It’s a taboo. We prefer to pretend that we are happy single with a fantastic Facebook live. So let’s just say it was time to speak out loud. I thought making a film would be a good way to show the world these emerging issues among modern women. By doing this in a intimate and sometimes light hearted way I hope people will understand a little bit more about my generation, our issues and motives to extend fertility. 2. Why did you choose to make the film about yourself and not another woman?I think such a private intimate theme asks for a personal way of telling. Form follows function. In this case form follows theme. People can relate and empathise.Because I was the director It was up to me how much privacy I wanted to show. During the film process I became more and more personal, because we noticed by seeing the footage that the intimate scenes where the best. For a pure authentic film I realized that it was necessary to go all the way. It was all or nothing.
3. Was it difficult being the director and at the same time the main character?It was not easy at all. There were times when I felt like a split personality. During the filming process many times the director in me wanted something else that my personal me. For example, the choice between a treatment in exciting America or a treatment in close familiar Belgium. I decided that during the filming process the director always had to follow my personal choices and not the other way around just for a bit more sensation or for commercials reasons. It is my life, so that comes first. Eventually this mentality benefits a personal films, because in the case of personal films the credibility of the filmmaker is very important.By the time we shot all the material we could starting with the editing. But first I had to take some distance. I had to prepare for my role as a director and not being to much involved anymore. I took a timeout for 3 moths, to become more objective. So time was one trick to get more distance. But that was not enough, it was hard for me to criticize my character, which was myself. So I gave myself another name: Kika. During the editing me and my editor were talking about her instead of me. It was Kika story, a reflection and simplification of my story. We also did our best to make it universal: a story of my generation. 4. What were the reactions to your film?In November 2010 ‘Eggs for Later’ was broadcast on national public TV in Holland. Actually I was prepared for negative reactions, because the public opinion on single childless 30plus women was quit negative. Cold career bitches who now suddenly want babies. It’s their own fault that they have no children, they are only working and partying. They just must accept that it’s to late for them.But it all worked out the opposite. I got hundreds of emails and Facebook messages from people I do not know. All were positive and really sweet and supportive. I didn’t expect that at all. It’s a great gift. Women wrote me that recognized them selves very much in the film and were happy that finally their story was told. Men thanked me that they have a better understanding of women after the seeing the film. They realized they are lucky that they don’t have a time limit, like we have. Some men said they also would love to have children, but finding the right partner is also for them not easy.After the screening on TV I had about thirty interviews on television, radio, newspapers and women’s magazines. Eggs freezing suddenly was a hot topic.There were also some political debates about legislation. And finally half a year after my film the politician agreed: egg freezing for social reasons is finally allowed in the Netherlands. 5. Do you have a relationship now?That’s what everybody wants to know… I had many sleepless nights about my fear that maybe potential men don’t want me anymore now that I told the whole world that I froze my eggs. Perhaps this would repel men. But I kept going on, because I had to do it. This is who I am. You like it or not.
Actually after the film process and after I froze my eggs, I feel so much better. I see everything positive again. My fate is back, in myself and my future. I believe that everything is going to be all right. And that feels as a relief, I free again. And that’s not only because my eggs are safe now. The most important thing is that I have faced my fears. I’m not afraid anymore of being alone and child-less for the rest of my life. I needed the mental process and the talks with my friends and parents to get trough this confusing phase.
And this has it’s effect on me and you. During the editing period I started to feel so much better. Suddenly I met lot a of nice guys who I did not notice before. So after 7 years of being single I met a nice man and we had a relationship for half a year! We had a great time, but it did not work out. He just came out a relationship or 9 years with 2 kids and he went nervous about the idea of having more kids. I did not start the topic, but of course he saw my movie:) That’s like 7 months ago. Just two weeks ago I met a really special guy and we are dating at the moment… 6. What does your father think now of your decision and the film?After seeing the film, he now understands me better. He said recently that it’s good that I was stubborn and I went to Belgium and not waited for the time that it would be allowed in Holland too. He is also proud that the film has received so much positive attention. 7. Has anything changed in your thinking about children and family?Yes it is perhaps strange but I am now much more open to single motherhood. That’s because my best female friend now has a little baby girl. The father is involved but they don’t have a love relation anymore. They are friends. This modern form of family inspires me a lot. Who knows, it could also be an option for me, although I still prefer to have a child with my future beloved one.
Hopefully I answered most of your questions. If there is anything else you want to know, feel free to check out www.eggsforlater.com or connect with me on Facebook.
I wish everybody a good inspiring festival,
Director of Eggs for Later