A Healthy Baby Girl

A woman who contracted cancer as the result of exposure to a synthetic hormone in utero documents her journey with humor and grace.

Healthy baby girl 01
Series
POV
Premiere Date
June 17, 1997
Length
60 minutes
Funding Initiative
Open Call
  • Award laurels-r Created with Sketch.
    1997 Melbourne International Film Festival-Best Documentary
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    1997 Charlotte Film and Video Festival -Director’s Choice Award
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    1997 Atlanta Film Festival-Best Video Documentary
  • Award laurels-r Created with Sketch.
    1997 South Bronx Annual Film Festival-Best Documentary
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    1997 Black Maria Film & Video Festival -Juror's Citation Award
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    1998 International Public Television INPUT Conference -Official Selection
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    1998 Peabody Awards-George Foster Peabody Award
  • Producer

    Judith Helfand

    Filmmaker, activist and educator Judith Helfand is best known for her ability to take the dark, cynical worlds of chemical exposure and heedless corporate behavior and make them personal, resonant, highly charged, and entertaining. Her films, The Uprising of ’34 (co-directed with George Stoney), the Sundance-award-winning Blue Vinyl (co-directed Show more with Daniel B. Gold and nominated for two Emmys), and its Peabody-award-winning prequel A Healthy Baby Girl (a five-year video-diary about her experience with DES-related cancer), explore home, class, corporate accountability, intergenerational relationships, and the ever shrinking border between what is personal and what is a critical part of the public record. Show less

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    The Film

    A Healthy Baby Girl is an intimate, humorous, yet searing exploration of what happens when science, marketing, and corporate power enter our deepest family relationships. A Healthy Baby Girl is an intergenerational story of one family’s response to an ethical and technological crisis, experienced from their home in Merrick, Long Island.

    In 1963, filmmaker Judith Helfand’s mother was prescribed the drug diethylstilbestrol (DES), meant to prevent miscarriage and ensure a healthy baby. But technology is rarely a benign midwife. In 1990, at age 25, Helfand was diagnosed with DES-related cervical cancer. She went home to her family to heal from a radical hysterectomy. There she picked up her camera. Her video diary, A Healthy Baby Girl, was shot over five years and goes beyond loss to document mother-daughter love, family renewal, survival, political awakening, and community activism.

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