When endeavoring to tell a story like this one, we have an obligation to be careful; to never overstep the trust our subjects place in us as they recount some of their hardest moments. Accompanied by a panel of AWHONN nurses, Lauren and Tiffany, as Producer and Creative Director, conducted pre-interviews with the mothers. During the discussions, the pair facilitated a space where the women could first share their stories; a space where the women’s comfort and well-being always remained the priority. Beyond enabling us to enter production with foresight, these conversations helped us to gain the mothers’ confidence that we’d treat them with kindness and compassion every step of the way, and that they’d always be in full control of their narratives.
Knowledge to Action: Care Equity for Black Moms
We partnered with the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses on a powerful short film designed to change health care providers’ attitudes and behaviors in clinical practice toward pregnant women of color. Driven by the emotional testimonies of pregnancy complication survivors, the film presents the devastating impact of bias and racism in maternal health care and demands action for equitable treatment.
A Foundation of Trust
Committing to Change
With creative direction established, our crew brought together our on-screen advocates for what would undoubtedly be an emotional day of filming. Using Leading Authorities’ offices as a backdrop, Lauren conducted intimate sit-down interviews with our subjects. De’von, as cinematographer, recorded our subjects’ testimonies, using close-up and eye-level camera angles that deliver their remarks ever the more powerfully.
Tiffany and De’von directed thoughtful b-roll of the participants, using poignant visual metaphors that reinforce the subjects’ profound perspectives. Tai-lhani, a survivor of trauma, sitting pensively on a park bench as she gazes at a picture of her beloved daughter. Photos of Shawana, pregnant and embraced by her husband, a stark reminder that beyond her profession, she’s a human whose experiences matter. Closing shots of Aaron and Shawana walking in nurse’s garb, a calling card for clinicians to commit to the necessary steps for achieving real solutions to disparities in care. Tapping into raw emotions and an underlying sense of humanity within seemingly mundane moments, these visuals share a story about the devastating impact of harmful attitudes and behaviors that is too often overlooked.
Turning Knowledge Into Action
While educating clinicians about disparities in care was critical, accomplishing AWHONN’s vision would also require that the film address clinicians’ role in ending them. Throughout the production, Tiffany worked closely with AWHONN to achieve this objective; as the organization noted, her creative direction “challenged us to stay focused and go as deep as we needed to ensure we answered the critical questions of ‘what is the goal?’ and ‘what are the most important messages we need to convey through this production?’”
In post-production, this focus on messaging not only guided De’von’s editing of a cohesive story for a decidedly multifaceted topic, but also our team’s use of sparse on-screen text that emphasizes profound quotes and statements, calls out staggering statistics about maternal health and outcomes, and provides specific actions clinicians can take to pave a path for equitable care.
Saving Moms and Babies
Since the film's release, it has been viewed by thousands of individuals, and its uptake on AWHONN's social media platforms has been robust. We are proud of our work to lift Black mothers’ voices about their lived traumatic experiences, and to lay out a very clear and meaningful call to action for nurses and other providers.
Tiffany's unmistakable style makes otherwise flat statistics and images burst with excitement and life.
De'von has a diverse background; from filming in night clubs to fashion models and music videos.
Perhaps best epitomized by his signature red sneakers and tie, James Loizou thrives between the worlds of "the creative" and "the business."
James specializes in exploring new avenues, and who knows, together you may even end up off the map.