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  • Filmmaker Karen Skloss points the lens at her own non-traditional and yet entirely normal family.

    Filmmaker Karen Skloss points the lens at her own non-traditional and yet entirely normal family.

    http://cdn.itvs.org/sunshine-trailer.jpgmp4:sunshine-trailer-1024.mov
  • Single parenthood becomes even more complicated when the parent is a father, and that father is gay.

    Single parenthood becomes even more complicated when the parent is a father, and that father is gay.

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  • Dance number from Sunshine

    Dance number from Sunshine

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  • Director Karen Skloss with her daughter Jasmine

    Director Karen Skloss with her daughter Jasmine

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  • Karen Skloss and her birth mother Mary return to the Home of the Holy Infancy

    Karen Skloss and her birth mother Mary return to the Home of the Holy Infancy

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  • Adoptive parent, Pat, with Karen Skloss as a baby

    Adoptive parent, Pat, with Karen Skloss as a baby

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  • Director’s adoptive parents pose for a portrait

    Director’s adoptive parents pose for a portrait

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  • Karen’s daughter Jasmine participates in the dance number

    Karen’s daughter Jasmine participates in the dance number

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  • Director Karen Skloss on location at Barton Springs, Texas

    Director Karen Skloss on location at Barton Springs, Texas

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The Film

When filmmaker Karen Skloss got pregnant at the age of 23, she decided to have and keep the baby — even when it became clear that her relationship with the baby’s father wouldn’t work out. She had no idea that it would be so easy to alter her life in one stroke.

In Sunshine, Skloss explores the meaning of family through a personal journey to understand both the legacy of her own birth and the non-traditional family she created by co-parenting with her ex-boyfriend. Young, pregnant, single, and unprepared, Skloss struggles with the fact that sometimes, the most strenuous efforts to protect the idea of family can actually do the most to pull families apart.

Skloss’s pregnancy was, in a way, a case of history repeating itself. As a pregnant teenager, Skloss’s biological mother —the mayor’s daughter in a small Texas town — hushed herself away in a Catholic home for unwed mothers before giving Skloss up for adoption in 1975. She went on to lead a relatively normal life — finishing college, getting married, and having several other children. Few people, other than her new husband, had any idea what had happened. Even that was more than Skloss knew for many, many years.

Woven together from more than 10 years’ worth of home movies, intimate family interviews, shimmering dance sequences, and stylized reenactments, Sunshine is a refreshing and compelling self-portrait of an adopted woman driven to search for her pride and identity while reconnecting with her biological mother.

The Filmmaker

  1. Karen SklossProducer