“The Business of Being Born,” a doc about childbirth produced by and featuring Ricki Lake, has been acquired for theatrical release by Netflix’s Red Envelope and for DVD by New Line.
The film enjoyed several overflow screenings at its world preem at the Tribeca Film Festival. It offers harsh criticism of the way babies are born in U.S. hospitals, spotlighting the high rate of Caesarian section and the health care industry’s marginalization of midwives and doulas.
Several “water births,” said to be the most stress-free solution for mother and child, are shown in the film. Most of the births shown — including Lake’s and director Abby Epstein’s — also highlight the mothers’ decision to spurn conventional pain remedies, especially epidurals.
The Tribeca screenings sported an atmosphere resembling that of a religious revival meeting, with the endorphin-rush delivery of a baby often followed by the midwife crying out, “Now reach down and pick up your baby!” The almost entirely female crowds were alternately weeping and cheering.
Red Envelope, the nascent theatrical arm of Netflix, will take the film out in Gotham, L.A. and San Francisco in October. New Line will follow with the DVD in the first quarter of 2008.