Documentary film can be a powerful tool for building communities and social movements, and this year, as part of the Camden International Film Festival’s Points North Impact program, they will be working with filmmakers to harness that power and continue discussions on urgent issues that are critical to Maine communities.
What do the United States and Papua New Guinea have in common? They are the only countries in the world without a paid family leave law. In 2011, only 11% of private sector workers and 17% of public workers reported that they had access to paid family leave through their employer. Because 44 percent of American households don’t have enough savings to cover their basic expenses for three months, the birth of a new child or a medical emergency can mean financial ruin. American families are often forced to choose between tending to a spouse or parent with an unexpected medical emergency, or keeping their job and health insurance. The crisis is just as bleak for pregnant American women. An investigative report in 2015 showed that 25% percent of new mothers return to work within 10 days after giving birth. Without the protections of paid leave, new mothers are 40% more likely to end up on food stamps or public assistance.
We’re happy to be participating in a special screening and panel discussion this Saturday at the Camden International Film Festival. Our editor in chief, Kathleen Fleury, will discuss paid family leave, how it has impacted her life, and how well our new policy is working for families here at Down East.
The film is Zero Weeks, this Saturday 1 p.m. More details and tickets.