Look At Us Now, Mother

Screens on Thursday, April 7, 5pm – First Unitarian Society of Plainfield


Gayle Kirschenbaum, Writer, Director, Producer, Editor

Gayle Kirschenbaum is an Emmy® award-­‐winning film maker, television producer and speaker. Called the “Nora Ephron of documentaries,” with her trademark self-­‐deprecating humor, Gayle now turns the camera on herself. Her documentary, LOOK AT US NOW, MOTHER! is about the transformation of a highly charged mother/daughter relationship from Mommie  Dearest to Dear Mom, from hatred to love. This is the larger version of her funny award-­winning festival favorite film, MY  NOSE, in which we follow her mother’s relentless campaign to get her to have a nose job. Gayle turned the film’s lessons into an insightful seminar, featuring “The Seven Healing Tools” for dealing with difficult people.

She created and Executive Produced several “little  people” shows for TLC and Discovery Health. Kirschenbaum made a poignant and wacky film with her dog about the human/canine bond called A DOG’S  LIFE:  A DOGAMENTARY, which premiered on HBO. She co-­‐created the show JUDGMENT DAY: SHOULD THE GUILTY GO FREE that premiered on HBO. Gayle worked in television producing several programs including AMERICA’S MOST WANTED and INTIMATE PORTRAITS.

Gayle founded and runs Writers on the Hudson. Kirschenbaum is a member of the Producers Guild of America, NYWIFT and a judge for the Emmys®. She has been featured in the media including The New York Times, NBC’s Today Show, CBS’s Early Show,Fox TV, Oxygen TV, the Ladies Home Journal, Washington Post, O Magazine,CBS Radio,and BBC Radio.

 About “Look At Us Now Mother”

“This is my story but it also could be your story; laugh a little, cry a little, and discover that forgiveness is possible even when it seems unlikely….” Gayle Kirschenbaum

What trauma could make a child certain that she was born into the wrong family? What wounds are inflicted when the home that’s supposed to be a haven isolates her as an outsider; when her mother’s words are rarely nurturing but instead, ruthlessly shaming, demeaning and critical? What will it take for the adult that child becomes to forgive such a past? Is forgiveness even possible?

This is the dilemma that Emmy® award-­‐winning filmmaker Gayle Kirschenbaum faces in her relentlessly honest and bitingly funny documentary, LOOK AT US NOW, MOTHER! Comprised primarily of decades-­‐worth of intimate family home movies and videos that were never meant for public viewing—from 8 mm film coverage of Gayle’s outwardly “Leave it to Beaver-­‐esque” childhood in an upwardly-­‐mobile Long Island suburb, to personal family celebrations, fights, and even tragedies right up to the present—it’s the story of one determined woman’s quest to reconcile with and understand her past, which  means forgiving her proud, narcissistic and formidable elderly mother, Mildred.

With raw  courage and equal parts humor and pathos, Gayle invites the audience to take this epic journey along with her—an odyssey of discovery with no bump in the road edited out. Gayle is determined to unlock the key to her family’s pain and crack open her mother’s brittle shell. When Mildred grudgingly agrees to participate in the process, the two of them  uncover shocking family secrets and long-­‐buried suffering that throw their family history into sharp relief, and begin to shift the dynamics of their complex relationship.

The specter of  loss haunts the film almost as strongly as the pain of criticism: Mildred’s still a powerhouse well into her ninth decade, but Gayle knows her mother won’t be around forever. Can she learn to understand, love and forgive her mother—before it’s too late? Look At Us Now Mother! may be about one mother-­‐daughter relationship, but its insights and lessons are   universal. In order to move forward into the future, we all have to forgive what happened in our pasts. Understanding is the first step in that journey. Gayle Kirschenbaum brings her unique brand of fearless honesty and laugh-­‐aloud  humor to a film that took decades to shoot, about a relationship that took a lifetime to mend.