Impressions from the"papa&dada" Swiss Premiere at movie theatre "Otello" Ascona, Ticino
from the 6th October 2023
How is everyday family life different when the parents are not father & mother but father & father? Is there any difference at all? And what makes a family? These are questions the renowned Swiss (canton Ticino) filmmaker Daniela Ambrosoli explores in "papa&dada." She filmed in the USA, Holland, Germany, Switzerland, and Italy, following four same-sex couples over several years: John & John, Mimmo & Christian, Brian & Ferd, and Tim & Josh. The couples share intimate insights into their everyday family life. And what is it like? At the end of the day, exactly the same as that of the conventional family unit with father, mother, and child. They eat together, go on family outings, and the fathers help their children brush their teeth and tell them bedtime stories. Getting children is different: Homosexual men are dependent on adoption or surrogate-mother agencies.
Mimmo & Christian followed their surrogate mother's two pregnancies fastidiously – mainly via smartphone because of the pandemic. Kelly sent them ultrasound pictures or audio messages with the heartbeat of the unborn child. During the birth, the two fathers paced the floor nervously and restlessly. Tim & Josh decided to privately adopt, and they tell how they first came home with their baby: "It was strange to suddenly have a baby without having witnessed the pregnancy. We asked ourselves, are we allowed to have a child?" Brian & Ferd scoured the internet for tips and advice. Unlike heterosexual couples, however, what they found was less than meager, so they founded their own platform in 2014. It is now one of the world's only places to go for gay, bisexual, and transgender fathers and those who want to be. John & John were amazed that surrogate-mother agencies offer a wide range of characteristics a child can have: "You can choose the level of IQ, for example – but all we wanted was to have a happy, healthy child," says John Ruggieri.
The common thread that
runs through the one-and-a-half-hour documentary can be described in a single
word: love. The film documents not only the love that the partners feel for
each other but also the love they show their children. It is unconditional and
completely independent of the parents' sexual orientation. Or as Christian &
Mimmo say, "Being a parent simply means giving love. Period."
The surrogate mothers
are also given a voice. They talk about how it feels to carry someone else's
child and thus fulfill a couple's most fervent wish. Daniela Ambrosoli also
visited Demis Volpi. The Argentinean is choreographing a ballet piece based on
the children's picture book "King & King," in which two princes
fall in love. "It's not about homosexuality, but simply about universal
love," Demis Volpi explains. Stefan Haupt is also featured in the film.
The Swiss director made waves in 2014 with "The Circle," a film about
Ernst Ostertag and Röbi Rapp. The couple fought for gay rights in Switzerland
for decades. "The traditional family image, consisting of man, woman, and
child, is still very much with us – but it is undergoing profound change,"
says Stefan Haupt.
Daniela Ambrosoli is a specialist for sensitive film portraits. In 2011 she won the Audience Award for Best Documentary at the Beverly Hills Film Festival in Los Angeles for "HN Hermann Nitsch," and in 2018 "The Making of a Dream" was awarded first prize at two renowned festivals.
Runtime – 91 minutes
Color – Color
Sound mix – tba
Aspect ratio – tba