A Red Hen Documentary
Filmmaker Cynthia Wade is trying to get her divorced parents to talk to each other, but that is the last thing they want to do. Nothing ever seems to work out the way Wade hopes it will. At least she has a job (calling out Bingo numbers), a loving family (although her father's new wife is just a few years older than Wade), and a social life (if answering an emergency hotline on a Saturday night counts). So what if her sister gets all of the dates and her father is finally getting the son he always wanted? Wade is armed with her camcorder, and the result is a honest and painfully humorous video diary that captures a changing American family in the 1990s.
Central to Wade's predicaments are the actions of her estranged parents. At her father's dinner table, Wade competes with her pregnant stepmother and a jealous pet parrot for her father's attention, and is then shuttled off to a "neutral location" where her mother retrieves her only after the "other" parent has departed. When Wade improbably finds herself in love, she confronts her deepest fear: whether or not she'll be able to sustain a long-term relationship in the face of her family's uncertain history.
A creative synthesis of a raw camcorder diary technique and evocative home movie footage, GRIST FOR THE MILL premiered on Father's Day (June 20, 1999) on Cinemax Reel Life.
Cynthia Wade was co-producer and the principal verite cinematographer for the PBS documentary Taken In: The Lives of America's Foster Children, which was recently awarded a Columbia-DuPont Award for Excellence in Journalism. She was Director of Photography for A&E's Ancient Mysteries: The Healing Waters of Lourdes and has been field producer and camera operator for A&E's Biography series and the History Channel's In Search of History television series. Ms. Wade received a BA cum laude from Smith College in 1989 and an MA in Documentary Film Production from Stanford University in 1995.
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