Three very different friends find renewed connection as they await pregnancy results at their Los Angeles High School.
Hidden away under the bleachers at school, free-spirited Aisha gives a pregnancy test to Jessica, a cheerleader and prom queen contender, who’s terrified of what the results might mean. They are joined by their childhood friend Portia, who has made her own decisions about motherhood. The three reconnect over their circumstances and celebrate all of life’s choices.
Runtime: 12.05 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 16:9
Shooting Format: Arri Alexa Mini 4K
Production Companies: Kamrock Entertainment
Production Country: USA
Made in association with WIF and with the support of Google.
“Choices” is a fictional story inspired by a common experience that I shared with my two younger sisters. We all got pregnant as teenagers, but had different ways of dealing with it.
I knew as soon as I found out that I was going to have an abortion. My middle sister knew for certain that she was going to keep her baby. My youngest sister was so terrified that she never told anyone. We discovered it when she was 7 months along! And that discovery was met with great relief. My sisters didn’t learn about my abortion until I shared it with them during their time of turmoil. The stigma and shame kept me from sharing it sooner. Both of them respected my choice and I respected theirs. Even my bible-toting grandmother didn’t challenge my decision to have an abortion after discovering my well-kept secret – just hours before my procedure. She blessed me with a supportive prayer and a kiss on the forehead. This is an example of how reproductive freedom works! My sisters and I didn’t become destitute from our situations, we prevailed.
In the film, three teens privately meet underneath school bleachers to support a prom queen hopeful while she takes a pregnancy test. This is an experience that they’ve all shared. As a filmmaker, I purposely avoided a punitive afterschool special approach to discussing teen pregnancy. This film has humor, relatable dialogue, and engaging characters. One character had an abortion, another is very pregnant, and one is discovering where her fate lies. To amplify the freedom of choice, no one decision was favored over the other within the film. I chose balanced compositions for shots where all three characters appeared together and I introduced each character in a distinct and empowering way. Playful performances and upbeat music were used to keep the mood of the film lighthearted and fun.
There are several films that center around teens and reproductive health, but there are no classic coming-of-age comedies or films that explore reproductive health issues for black teens of this generation. I would describe the tone of “Choices” as Breakfast Club meets Juno, with themes of sisterhood, freedom of choice, and embracing your youth. Making this film was my chance to give audiences a unique point of view and a fresh perspective that’s also familiar.
On day two of filming Choices, Clearance Thomas’ leaked abortion decision became public. With our cast and crew being mostly women, the set felt more like a battlefield. This film became an opportunity for us to protest with art. Throughout the making of this film, several women approached me unsolicited to share their experience of having an abortion. The subject matter made them feel safe telling me. I hope audiences who watch this film are touched in the same so that the stigma can be removed from conversations around abortion and reproductive choices, especially for black girls and other people of color.
MARAJANAI (fka Nay Nay Kirby)
KEITH ARTHUR BOLDEN
NANDI NFR KA
JANAE D. GREEN
MARISCELA BEATRÍZ MÉNDEZ
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