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UCLA Film & Television Archive and The Andrew J. Kuehn Jr. Foundation present

In the Best Interests of the Children

Three women and a boy smiling for the camera.
October 28, 2021 - 4:00 pm

Watch on Vimeo

This screening will be available through November 11.

New digital preservation!

In the Best Interests of the Children

U.S., 1977

Though a 25-year study published in 2010 in the journal Pediatrics found that children raised by two mothers perform better in school, exhibit higher self-esteem and have fewer behavioral issues than their peers with heterosexual parents, this data collecting only began in 1985, nearly a decade after Frances Reid, Elizabeth Stevens and Cathy Zheutlin’s documentary, In the Best Interests of the Children, so beautifully illustrated the same narrative. This groundbreaking, award-winning film “about who lesbian mothers and their children really are” portrays the diversity of experience, race and class among eight families and their challenges with custody, the children's fathers and the courts. Subjected to unnecessary psychological testing, evaluation and scrutiny, lesbian mothers—both those who used sperm donors and those who were previously in heterosexual relationships—find the burden of proof on themselves to exhibit superior fitness in parenting their own children and a level of judicial and social monitoring most straight mothers evade. Through tender interviews with the children and observational footage of women interacting with their kin, Reid, Stevens and Zheutlin’s heartrending depiction of motherly love normalizes a family model enjoyed by millions around the world.

Program will feature a pre-recorded Q&A with filmmaker Frances Reid moderated by Jenn Wilson, Senior Programmer at Film Independent.

Color, 53 min. Directors/cinematographers/editors: Frances Reid, Elizabeth Stevens, Cathy Zheutlin.

New digital scan courtesy of The Andrew J. Kuehn Jr. Foundation.

Outfest UCLA Legacy Project Screening Series